VANCOUVER, B.C.-It was a roaringly good idea. O.K. Tire Stores Inc. took advantage of Valentine's Day in order to introduce its new corporate mascot and, at the same time, do something nice for women attending the Tire Dealers Association of Canada's convention and trade show in Vancouver.
Every woman who entered the trade show on the opening day, Feb. 14, was greeted by Optie the lion, who presented her with a rose in honor of Valentine's Day.
Optie, which stands for optimum service, will become the new O.K. Tire Stores mascot for all of Canada when he is officially introduced at the cooperative's annual convention March 11-14 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
``We brought the mascot here (to Vancouver) because it was Valentine's Day and we thought this would be a great idea,'' said Gord Bevington, O.K. Tire's manager of dealer marketing support.
Optie represents both tires and automotive service, Mr. Bevington said, and will be used to build traffic and consumer awareness of O.K. Tire Stores, which is Canada's largest independent tire dealership group with 150 outlets.
The company chose to make Optie a lion because lions are leaders of their pack, Mr. Bevington said.
O.K. Tire will use Optie in point of sale materials, radio commercials and will schedule appearances in dealers' showrooms. The company also will have available a 20-ft. inflatable version for use at various events.
As for introducing Optie prior to the O.K. Tire annual dealer meeting, Mr. Bevington said it was an opportunity he couldn't let pass.
``When you see the ladies' faces when the lion hands them a rose, it makes it all worthwhile to introduce (Optie) early,'' Mr. Bevington said.
The Tire Dealers Association of Canada holds its convention once every four years for dealers throughout the country. This year's meeting, Feb. 14-17, attracted about 750 attendees.