ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-Big O Tires Inc. wants to make a big impact on its consumers. For 30 years, the company's franchisee advertising programs have been handled by about 12 different regional co-operative groups, according to Kelley O'Reilly, Big O vice president of marketing.
Now, franchisees have formed an independent, non-profit group called IMPACT Advertising Inc.
``IMPACT provides all Big O franchisees a single staff of professionals whose mission is to develop a unified advertising campaign,'' said Ms. O'Reilly, who also is the new venture's president.
Prior to IMPACT's Aug. 1 formation, franchisees worked in groups with outside advertising and marketing agencies on a region-by-region basis.
``We had 10 to 15 different ad strategies going on at a time (from the different regions),'' Ms. O'Reilly said.
As an in-house advertising agency, IMPACT can now offer franchisees across the country a ``consistent and effective'' ad campaign that will build the Big O name and image on a national scale, she said. Consistent print, radio and television ads will let consumers know that Big O outlets throughout the U.S. are a part of the same organization.
Participation in IMPACT is voluntary, Ms. O'Reilly said. Franchisees can opt to continue using their local advertising arrangements, if they prefer.
IMPACT's benefits go beyond the formation of a consistent message, Ms. O'Reilly emphasized.
Because the group is a non-profit organization, money that had gone toward local ad agencies' profits can instead be channeled into additional ad spots. Participating franchisees also will benefit from the economies of scale resulting from the use of a single agency to coordinate advertising efforts nationwide, she said.
IMPACT's staff of marketing, design and advertising professionals will create advertising campaigns and assist with ad layouts and placements for Big O franchisees, who will elect representatives from each region to serve on the organization's board.
Currently, about 100 franchised outlets in Southern California, Seattle, Portland, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Utah are represented in IMPACT. Big O operates about 370 franchised and company-owned retail tire stores in 18 states. The Englewood-based franchiser also distributes tires and automotive products to 41 associated dealers in Western Canada, who also could join IMPACT, Ms. O'Reilly said.