AKRON-Racing publicity isn't just for Goodyear and Firestone. For the next two seasons, Continental General Tire Inc. will be the title sponsor of the final race in the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Supercar Series.
And CGT is using a host of promotional materials to help dealers use the General Tire Hoosier 500 to sell the company's line of Hoosier Performance Radials.
Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. supplies the spec tire for the ARCA series, which culminates its season during ``Championship Weekend,'' to be held this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Nov. 11. CGT also is contributing to the series' year-end point fund.
Continental General has manufactured and marketed the Hoosier performance lines since 1990 through an exclusive licensing agreement with Lakeville, Ind.-based Hoosier Racing Tire.
The goal of the sponsorship is to link the General Tire name with the company's Hoosier-brand performance lines in the mind of the consumer, according to James Novak, director of marketing.
``People see (the racing promotion), they buy into it and then they purchase the tires,'' he said during a March 14 luncheon announcing the spon-sorship.
Foremost among the company's promotional plans is a scratch-and-win game card that will be inserted in the May issue of Sports Illustrated alongside a full-page, four-color advertisement.
Consumers can take the game card into their nearest CGT dealer for a chance to win one of five grand prize trips to ``Championship Weekend.'' First, second and third prizes on the cards include racing jackets, hats and T-shirts.
A specially commissioned racing jacket, featuring the race logo, will be offered for $19.95 with the purchase of four tires.
CGT dealers also will get the opportunity to travel to the race by participating in a sales incentive promotion during the months of April, May and June.
To support the racing sponsorship, the firm has developed a series of 30-second television commercials that will air during racing programing through November on the TBS, TNN, ESPN and ABC networks.
``We're looking forward to doing more joint race promotions with Hoosier Racing Tire,'' Mr. Novak said. ``It seems only logical, since they make the race tires and we make the street tires.''
The racing sponsorship is the third portion of the company's three-pronged marketing campaign targeting the Continental, General and Hoosier brands at specific consumer groups, Mr. Novak said.
Earlier this year the company reintroduced its ``Sooner or later you'll own Generals'' slogan, featuring country star Willie Nelson in television and radio ads that will air on national networks through November.
The 30-second spots can be used on their own to increase brand awareness or can be customized to promote a single dealership. CGT will provide dealers with suggested scripts and other materials to help them build their own commercials.
CGT also has introduced its first ``major consumer introduction for Continental brand tires in the U.S. market'' with a full-page, four-color advertisement that targets high performance tire buyers.
The ad, with the headline: ``The tires that come as standard equipment are anything but standard,'' targets owners of vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Audi, the company said.
The Continental ad will appear in Car & Driver, Road & Track, European Car, Porsche Panorama, Sports Car International, Excellence, Mercedes-Benz Star, BMW Roundel and special automotive-manufacturer-oriented versions for Automotive News and Automotive industries.
The Continental campaign will help support the company's coming expansion of the ContiTouringContact CH95 line, developed specifically for driving conditions in the U.S. market.