PHILADELPHIA-Ask the typical consumer to name tire brands and Toyo likely won't make many lists. Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp., a small Cypress, Calif.-based tire importer and marketer, simply has never had the budget to dump millions of dollars into a nationwide brand-awareness advertising campaign. So Toyo decided to get innovative.
Through the use of newly developed interactive video kiosks, the company hopes consumers entering its 2,200 points of sale across the U.S. will begin to understand just who Toyo is and what its tires are all about.
The black, stand-up kiosks feature computer monitors that sit at eye level displaying a short video to attract customer attention.
Consumers can move through the information modules using ``touch-screen'' technology. Modules include a Toyo overview, tire buying tips, Toyo specials, and an interactive tire selector that allows consumers to enter information about their vehicles and driving habits to generate recommended Toyo tires.
The computer also can be programmed to offer personalized automotive service and pricing information.
The kiosks will be leased to Toyo dealers under 30-month contracts, according to Rick Sirko, director of marketing.
``It's not as if our dealers haven't been able to sell Toyo tires to their customers that don't know much about Toyo,'' said Earl Knoper, senior vice president of marketing. ``What the kiosk does is provide a major dose of brand awareness, and ideally brand preference, so there will be greater receptivity by the consumer when the dealer suggests they purchase Toyo tires.''
Toyo said it hopes the multimedia kiosk will help dealers and consumers perceive Toyo as a technological leader as well as develop brand awareness.
Its dealers will soon receive a mailing describing the kiosk.
The interactive kiosk is the third dealer merchandising support program announced by the company over the past nine months, complementing its ``Experience the Difference in Quality'' 500-mile trial offer and Toyo private label ``90-days-same-as-cash'' credit card programs.
The company said it hopes the three programs together will give dealers the tools to ``set up,'' ``offer'' and ``close'' more sales.