``Go where you wanna go.... Find the road you've never taken.
Pushin' the boundaries back.
When you're up to speed. . . .
When you wanna break out from the pack. . . .
Goodyear! It's your move.
Goodyear! Anyway you choose.
ORLANDO, Fla.—Get used to those words. You'll be hearing them a lot in months to come thanks to a new multimillion dollar television campaign aimed at infusing excitement into the Goodyear brand.
``Serious Freedom'' is the title of Goodyear's attention-getting new theme song and also is the name used to identify the company's newest effort to win the hearts, minds and dollars of adventure-seeking young tire buyers.
Unveiled before a record attendance of nearly 2,700 at Goodyear's 1997 Dealer Conference in Orlando, Feb. 9-12, the new campaign will be backed by an advertising budget larger than that of last year's record-setting rollout for the Goodyear Infinitred tire, company officials said.
The three-day conference also included presentations by Goodyear Chairman and CEO Samir Gibara, Executive Vice President of North American Operations Eugene Culler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Marco Molinari, Vice President of Replacement Sales Edward Gallagher, the introduction of two tires and a guest appearance by comedian Bill Cosby.
The vocal portion of the new video commercials is performed by singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke, whose three albums are heard most frequently on college radio and ``alternative music'' stations.
The driving beat of the music is paired with an equally fast-paced, MTV-style video track that dazzles viewers with dramatic footage of both on- and off-track motoring, spectacular Oregon scenery and energetic young people on the go.
The sound track, chosen from more than 50 submitted for the company's consideration, is the work of New York music producer Joe Sicurella, who previously turned out award-winning themes for such companies as Coca Cola, Folgers, Kellogg and Anheuser Busch.
In introducing the new ``Serious Freedom'' commercials to the dealers at the Orlando meeting, Roger Zwingler, Goodyear's director of marketing communications, said tests show they're ``the most persuasive advertising (the company) ever recorded.''
In tests of their effectiveness, the new 60- and 30-second TV spots, ``outscored anything we've ever done,'' Mr. Zwingler said, including those used in the company's 1992 launch of the Goodyear Aquatred tire.
The commercials are designed to imbue the Goodyear brand—which tests show gets high marks in consumer recognition and confidence, but not necessarily in sex appeal—with the excitement and cachet inherent in the company's so-called ``signature brands,'' such as Eagle, Aquatred and Wrangler.
The new commercials focus heavily on the sure-footedness of these and other Goodyear products in wet weather. Wet traction is one category in which Goodyear feels it has an edge on the competition—and is a subject that evokes a strong emotional response on the part of tire buyers, the company's tests show.
Mr. Zwingler said Goodyear is clearly positioned as one of ``the best wet-traction brands in the industry.'' And, in their minds, consumers have translated that also to mean ``the safest brand in the industry.''
But today, he said, a growing number of consumers want more than product value and dependability—they also are looking for motoring fun and excitement, he told dealers.
That these youthful consumers are looking for adventure is evidenced by the current popularity of in-line skating, mountain biking, snow-boarding, bungee jumping and hang gliding, Mr. Zwingler pointed out. Meanwhile, performance cars and sport utility vehicles continue to erode the market for the once-dominant family sedan.
``The mobile society is getting more mobile than ever, and basic transportation is no longer enough. The driving experience is now an adventure,'' he said.
``Serious Freedom'' commercials will be aired primarily during national broadcasts of major sporting events in order to attract a target audience of 25- to 54-year-olds. As a group, these consumers are not otherwise heavy users of television, explained Paul Murray, media director for J. Walter Thompson, the New York-based agency that created the Goodyear campaign.
TV viewers who watched the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 9 got a sneak preview of the new Goodyear commercials, which were telecast four times during the event.
The commercials will run nationally on both broadcast and cable television for about 34 weeks this year, Mr. Murray told reporters. Both English and French versions of the commercials will be used in Canada.
In the meantime, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, an Akron-based ad agency, will be working with dealers, preparing customized versions of these commercials for use within local markets. There is no charge for the service, Mr. Murray said.
More than 100 dealers at the gathering took immediate advantage of this offer by going before the agency's video camera on the spot to record individual video segments for use in customizing the Goodyear commercials.
Mr. Zwingler said dealers' enthusiastic response during the Orlando gathering demonstrated that they like and plan to use the new commercials in their own local advertising.
The new TV commercials will be used to promote two new tires which also debuted at the Orlando gathering: the Eagle F-1 GS, the first Goodyear performance tire to carry the AA traction rating; and the Wrangler AT/S light truck tire, said to offer improved off-road traction and mileage and quieter on-highway ride. (These new tires are the subject of a separate article on page 17.)
In addition to its new TV commercial, Goodyear also will be promoting these two new tires using print ads in leading enthusiast publications, Mr. Zwingler said.