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Published on January 20, 1997

GOODBYE TO ARMSTRONG: ROCKIN' WITH BFG

Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp.'s decision to discontinue the Armstrong brand and tradename after 85 years marks the end of an era for the New Haven, Conn.-based tire maker. It also raises questions as to what role the company intends to play in North America. The U.S. subsidiary of Italy's Pirelli Group announcedits plans Jan. 14 to dealers at PATC's national business meeting in Las Vegas.

Attendees were told the company no longer will offer Armstrong brand tires. Ultimately, PATC plans to drop the word ``Armstrong'' from its nameplate as well.

Officials said the company will concentrate on marketing the Pirelli brand, which will be offered as a package with a new line of lesser-priced Formula-brand tires.

What affect all this will have on the company's future in North America remains to be seen. But we wish PATC success in this latest endeavor.

Congratulations to Michelin Americas Small Tires for its innovative approach to bolstering recognition of the BFGoodrich brand among youthful tire buyers.

MAST will sponsor two 30-city rock-and-roll concert tours, each aimed at reaching what it calls the ``Techno-Sport'' market—active, trend-conscious males from 18 to 44 years old who are considered prime prospects for the company's BFG brand light truck and performance tires.

Officials told attendees at the company's dealer meeting in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 8, that rock music was selected not only because ``it's the very root of the youth culture,'' but also because the rock concert field presently is devoid of tire-manufacturer sponsors.

One tour will feature classic rock artists such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young, the other contemporary groups such as Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails.

Fresh ideas are a welcome sight in the realm of tire advertising, where creativity seldom extends beyond tried-and-true formulas centering on celebrity spokespersons or sports events.

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