EAST BOSTON, Mass.-If timing has anything to do with landing a modeling job, Robert Katz's three children are on their way to lucrative careers. Mark, 3, and 1-year-old twins Joel and Emily, have already used their dimples and starry-eyed expressions to help their father sell tires at his East Boston-based dealership, Nu-Tread Co. Inc.
Mr. Katz, who owns Nu-Tread, became a proud father for the first time in 1992 and wanted to show off his son. Goodyear introduced the Aquatred that same year, and he saw a perfect fit.
Mr. Katz photographed Mark crawling through an Aquatred and included it on a flyer for use in his Val-Pak Direct Marketing Systems Inc. mailings. ``Nu-Tread introduces its new arrivals of 1992: Mark Katz and Aquatred!'' the ad stated.
``People like babies, pets; people like nice-looking women.*.*.*you see it on TV all the time,'' Mr. Katz explained during an interview. ``I decided to try the same thing with direct mail.''
The direct mail flyer also included coupons for a wheel alignment, exhaust system work, a disc brake special and a lube, oil and filter change as well as a buy-three-get-one-free promotion on Goodyear Aquatreds and Arrivas.
Two years later, Goodyear and the Katz family were at it again.
The Akron-based tire manufacturer released the dual-channel Eagle Aquatred at the same time the Katz's twins, Joel and Emily, were born.
Mr. Katz photographed Joel and Emily sitting in two Eagle Aquatreds for another round of direct mail advertising. He reminded customers that Mark and the Aquatred were introduced together in 1992 and even teased his audience with the question ``1995: What next?'' in the ad.
The baby-photo ads have been a hit with his customers, Mr. Katz said, noting many people have used the coupons or mentioned seeing the children during their visits to his two stores.
He has been using direct mail promotional pieces since 1985 and said he does about four or five mailings a year.
The ads even caught the eye of another Boston area tire dealer-and a good friend of Mr. Katz-Alan Saks, owner of Dorchester Tire Service Inc., who mailed cop-ies of the advertisements to TIRE BUSINESS.
``I though this might be of interest to you. . . ,'' he wrote. ``It does demonstrate creativity in local advertising, something that we all need so much.''
The dealership soon will be producing local television spots to try to attract business-oriented clientele from the surrounding area, Mr. Katz said.
``If I can find a way, I'll definitely include (the children)'' he said, though his initial ideas for the TV ads involve older actors.
Nu-Tread was founded in 1933 by Mr. Katz's father, Irving. Although the dealership at one time retreaded tires, it is now strictly a retail dealership, offering passenger and light truck tires, as well as tire-related and other undercar service.
About three months ago, Mr. Katz opened his second location in Revere, located about three miles north of East Boston, which operates under the name: Revere Tire & Autoworks.