Barnacle: Giving the Boot the Boot

The Challenge

Parking enforcement technology hadn’t evolved since the invention of the boot, drivers’ nemesis since the 1940s. That is, until a bright-yellow 15.5-pound piece of plastic known as The Barnacle came around. The device, which sticks to a windshield using suction cups with hundreds of pounds of force, can immobilize a vehicle. In September 2016, co-founder Kevin Dougherty hired Havas PR to stay on top of media inquiries about the curious-looking device and to reinforce the Barnacle’s clever messaging and brand with a strategic plan.


The Solution

To help The Barnacle tell the story of an entire industry that’s evolving to make parking enforcement safer, greener, more efficient and more convenient for everyone, our strategy was to educate the public about the inefficiencies, environmental hazards and dangers presented by the outdated boot and declare the Barnacle its novel and necessary successor. We communicated one key message to target outlets in the U.S. and abroad and to media in the Barnacle’s pilot cities: The boot is getting the boot.

The Results

Placed 52 articles about the Barnacle in just a few months—coverage presenting it as the most technologically advanced and least infuriating way to enforce parking to date
On “The Today Show,” Matt Lauer shared news of the Barnacle, while The Daily Mail told readers to “forget the wheel clamp”
More top broadcast coverage included ABC 6 News, Fox 29 Good Morning Philadelphia and CBS WTOL 11. Business Insider, CityLab, The New York Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and TechCrunch also dedicated coverage
Hit show “Modern Family” even featured the Barnacle in an episode that aired in March 2017