If you live in the Chicago area you’ve probably seen the billboards, television ads, and radio spots being sponsored by Ozinga Brothers, a big ready-mixed concrete producer in the area. Born to Build celebrates the American construction worker and the perseverance and hard work it takes to construct our infrastructure and buildings.
“This started a couple of years ago,” says Tim Ozinga, one of the brothers now running the fourth-generation family-owned company. “Coming out of the recession, we felt things were a little flat. Construction really took the brunt of the recession—we were hit very hard as an industry. Although business was picking up, as we discussed this the idea of our underdog status kept coming to mind. But we also knew that in the construction industry and the ready-mix business knew how to succeed regardless of conditions. We are survivors. So we wanted to put that rallying cry out there.”
The result was Born to Build, a short but powerful video that ran on local television this past spring and summer and billboards in 16 spots around Chicagoland. The campaign, shot on job sites with actual construction workers, not actors, portrays the hard but satisfying work of construction and is intended to inspire young people to consider a career in construction. Many people must agree, because the video on YouTube has been viewed more than 250,000 times, garnered over 1000 comments on Facebook, was shared 1600 times, and has gotten 5000 likes.
“We felt construction workers should get the appreciation they deserve,” says Ozinga, “and from the response I think we got it right. Especially from tradespeople who responded that someone was finally telling their story, that construction offers great jobs for people who have a passion for building things.”
Ozinga plans to keep the message alive with another campaign in 2016, especially important in these days of tight jobs. Ozinga flatly states that “We’re having a really hard time finding drivers and we hope Born to Build attracts the right kind of people. We could have gone to job fairs or put up help-wanted signs, but we think this will be more effective both for our company and for the industry as a whole. We want more people to hear the message—this is much bigger than just Ozinga. It’s an industry-wide celebration of the work we do.”
Recently, Ozinga launched another drive to generate interest in construction among young people—this time among really young people. A children’s app developed in partnership with Bughouse, Super Nano Trucks, brings kids straight into the world of ready-mixed concrete. “It takes the idea of kids building things and adds an educational element,” Ozinga says. “Bughouse toured one of our plants and incorporated a lot of the elements into the play experience. They weigh batches, load trucks, and learn the differences among different mixes.” Parents can regulate length of play and break time. Additional features include a CB radio to interact with six different construction workers, awards for completing safety challenges, and authentic factory dials used to create concrete. “Super Nano Trucks was produced to achieve educational goals for children, while keeping the game super fun,” said Ozinga’s PR firm. The iPhone and iPad app is available from the Apple store for $2.99.