This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue.
Have you ever noticed that some people ask for a Kleenex instead of a tissue? Or they say they’re looking for a pair of Levis, when they actually meant jeans? For a marketing company this is the pinnacle in advertising. Band Aid, Jell-O, Xerox and Q-Tips are just a few examples of products so innovative, unique and dominant in the market that the brand name has come to be used to describe all similar products.
The term “bulletproof” is another perfect example. Although Bullet Proof Diesel is a complete shop and manufacturing facility in Arizona, the term is commonly and mistakenly used to describe any truck that has had work done to it. In fact, the real Bullet Proof Diesel name has a long and colorful history that starts with the 6.0L Power Stroke engine. Like firemen who run toward danger when the rest of the world is running away from it, Bullet Proof Diesel owners Ken and Gene Neal are two brothers who solved the issues of this Ford engine instead of avoiding them and in return have established themselves as the “go-to” for Power Strokes.
“The 6.0L is not a ‘Bullet Proof Diesel’ engine unless four of the five main pattern failures are addressed with genuine Bullet Proof Diesel parts,” explained Gene. “Back in 2008, we developed and installed the first solution to the chronic EGR cooler failures experienced on the 6.0L/VT365 platform. Shortly thereafter, we invented and patented our well-known oil cooler solution for the same engine. We knew we needed a great name to represent our line of products, so we developed and trademarked Bullet Proof Diesel to denote and represent our brand.”
Sounds simple, right? Well, not exactly. The brothers spend more time than they’d care to admit trying to protect the company’s trademarked name. As part of Neal Technologies, Inc., Bullet Proof Diesel has created a successful business selling and installing new products. Meanwhile, others have taken advantage of its branding and product reputation by claiming to be “bulletproofing” a truck when in reality what they are doing has nothing to do with the actual Arizona-based products.
Of course it gets a little complicated when you factor in other companies who share the name. Have you ever heard of Bulletproof Coffee? It has nothing to do with the diesel shop in Arizona but it can be confusing when you search for “bulletproof” on the Internet. When doing a Google search it may also pull up “Bulletproof,” a song by La Roux or even the 1996 movie staring Adam Sandler and Damon Wayans called Bulletproof.
So maybe try searching for just Bulletproof Products. That would probably work…if not for Bulletproof Pet Products LLC and its Indestructibone XL chew toy that is sure to mess up your search. If you break it down to just truck products you might come across Bulletproof Suspension Inc., which, again, has nothing to do with Bullet Proof Diesel. You can see how it could be confusing.
I’ve run into this issue myself when out covering builds. A guy will tell me his truck is now bulletproof, yet it doesn’t have one single part from Bullet Proof Diesel. The truck owner at that point tends to give me the deer-in-the-headlights look when I question him. Hopefully soon our industry will discover the difference between a build with a lot of upgrades and features and a true Bullet Proof Diesel truck. Then I can move on to helping people understand that a tissue is not always Kleenex.