VIZZOLA, Italy-Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. broadened its advertising efforts for Pirelli-brand tires in May and June with a national campaign using cable television. ``For us, it really represented the first time we've used TV in a major way on a national and local market basis,'' said Kevin Gilhuly, manager of marketing operations. Until now, most of PATC's advertising has been in print.
Interviewed at Pirelli S.p.A.'s wet-handling test track in Italy, Mr. Gilhuly said the TV campaign involved two phases: a national effort of several hundred spots, airing primarily on weekends on CNN and ESPN; and a local tie-in with about 80 independent tire dealers in some 50 markets.
This year, PATC hiked its ad budget 70 percent over 1993 levels to cover the additional advertising efforts, Mr. Gilhuly said.
Dealers participated by committing to buy a certain amount of tires from PATC, Mr. Gilhuly explained. In addition, dealers were given specific sales targets.
The company contributed to the effort by providing dealers with national exposure and an additional 50-60 commercials they could use in their local markets.
The eight-week campaign resulted in about a 3 percent sales increase for PATC over what the company previously had budgeted for April and May, Mr. Gilhuly said. ``It was positive for us, sales-wise, and from the exposure due to advertising.''
PATC's TV commercial, like a similar print ad campaign it has used, involved two vehicles-a Ferrari and a Ford Taurus. Viewers were shown each vehicle-first one, then the other and so forth-while hearing about how different the cars were in terms of markets and applications. The payoff at the end of the spot, according to Mr. Gilhuly, was a statement that the one thing the two cars have in common is Pirelli tires.
He called the commercial an extension of the slogan: ``Pirelli. No matter what you drive.''
That theme, unveiled in January at the company's annual dealer meeting, aims to extend the tire maker's image and ad program beyond the automotive enthusiast. Previously, Pirelli had used the theme: ``Pirelli. Original equipment on the world's finest.''
Mr. Gilhuly said the company's print campaign also reflects this change, both in message and in the placement of ads in such general consumer publications as Life, Time and People, in addition to enthusiast magazines such as AutoWeek and Road and Track.
He said PATC intends to conduct a second television campaign, probably early next year.