Nest pimps old fire truck, puts it on the street selling smart thermostats and fire alarms

Offline component of online marketing campaign is bold, innovative and a little whimsical

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In a page right out of the #madREskillz book, Nest, a maker of smart thermostats and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, has renovated a traditional fire truck and turned it into a traveling marketing hub. The Twitter-blue, gleaming-chrome truck happened to make an appearance around the corner from Inman News' Emeryville, Calif., office, which led to a few questions about the tricked-out truck. It turns out Nest, the maker of Nest Protect -- one of the 2013 holiday gifts Inman News contributor Tom Flanagan recommends for "tech-savvy Realtors,"  -- bought a standard-issue red, 1991-vintage Spartan "pumper" truck on Craigslist. The company then hired custom auto outfitters West Coast Customs to pimp the pumper out with a custom grill, a biodiesel-powered engine, smoke-alarm demo system, TV and sound system. In a media-saturated age where it takes more effort and a louder microphone to stand out, some brokerages and franchisors might do well to take a cue from the Silicon Valle...