We vant to pump u up Here's a marketing idea, compliments of Marketplace, you can file under the heading "Buns of Steel (Radials)."
Why not set up a workout facility at your dealership? With physical fitness the rage nowadays, a few exercycles or weight machines could go a long way toward keeping your customers in shape and coming back to your store.
But if you want to take that a step further and really guarantee a regular draw for your business, consider this: Once the room is set up, you hire a buff individual in skimpy togs—man, woman or both—to hang around and help your customers with their workouts.
We can hear it now... Wife: "Where you going, dear?"
Hubby: "I'm going down to the tire store to, uh, get the tires rotated."
Wife: "Again? And why are you taking your workout clothes? Weren't you just there last weekend to have the tires rotated?"
Hubby (defensively): "Yes, dear, but the dealer said I should have them done every 150 miles."
Shaken but not stirred up
Who recalls when the real James Bond (Sean Connery, for those too young to remember) drove a gadget-laden Aston Martin through the likes of Goldfinger and other Bondian fare?
Well 007 now pilots a BMW Z8 and, thanks to ever-vigilant marketing gurus, carries a "license to shill."
In conjunction with the latest Bond flick, The World is Not Enough, BMW of North America set up a Web site with a downloadable game that, until it closed recently, treated Web surfers to wild car chases and missile dodging as they cruised behind the wheel of a Z8 Beamer.
"BMW is an experiential brand, and the game allowed potential consumers not only specific product information, but also a chance to get involved with the BMW experience," said Bob Molhock of the ad agency Fallon McElligott, the brains behind the Web site.
The site's maintained aim was the game, not to shill cars, they said. But hey, if you've got $125,000 you're prepared to plunk down for a Z8 convertible, we doubt they'd stand in the way of a screeching sports car because, when it comes to hawking cars, The World is....
A fin and a prayer
In case you hadn't heard, the powers that be at DaimlerChrysler AG have deep-sixed the 73-year-old Plymouth brand name, which will drive into history with a puff of bluish smoke by the 2001 model year.
Automotive News recently observed that one of the best ad campaigns to come out of the Plymouth division was for the new 1957 models, introduced in the fall of 1956. The ad theme, playing up the cars' futuristic styling—with their exaggerated, provocative rear tail fins and toothy front grills—was: "Suddenly it's 1960."
...And suddenly Dick Nixon is running for the presidency. Talk about bad karma.
Like wow, man, speaking of flashing back to those heady times, Volkswagen AG has had such overwhelming success with the New Beetle that it's working on a modern version of the rockin' '60s-era VW Microbus.
"We have been trying to create a vehicle that resembles the Microbus as much as the New Beetle resembles the old one, because that would make sense on the emotional side," said Jens Neumann, Volkswagen AG board member in charge of North American Strategy.
One California car dealer said of the 1950s- and '60s-vintage Microbus he sold: "It was well built, extremely agile, very inexpensive, noisy—and there was nothing like it in town." (True, no two appeared to be alike.)
Does that mean new ones will be painted with flowers and peace signs and run like they're equipped with vacuum cleaner motors? We hear consumers will be responsible for providing their own hippies to ride in the back. Groovy.
This, that 'n such
Meanwhile, in the "back 40"—Elsewhere in this TB issue is a special report on farm and OTR tires. Ironically, we got a call from a Sears, Roebuck and Co. media relations person named Erika Cornstuble, who mentioned during a brief conversation that she grew up in Iowa.
Relax...She was calling about Sears' new DieHard Security battery—not that the mass merchandiser was getting into the farm tire business.
What magazine did you say you worked for?—Don't ask how or why, but while doing "research" on the Internet we were hooked by a Web site at www.crappiemagazine.com.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions, it was dedicated to information on "how to catch America's favorite panfish." Actually, the publication is Crappie World, and the publishing company boasts: "There's only one crappie magazine in America and we've got it." (Perhaps they haven't visited a supermarket checkout line lately.)
Open wide and say...—Vanity license plate spotted in Akron: "2th Guy."
And another rather presumptuous plate seen in the Cleveland area: "I AM Z1 4U."
We've got a suggestion for an anesthesiologist's plate: "GAS PASSR." On second thought, that may not be the kind of thing you want to advertise—on your car or anywhere.
And it smells like...—During the recent annual TBC Corp. marketing meeting, held in Palm Desert, Calif., some participants had the chance to visit a "living desert" where, in the park's petting zoo, an attendant brought out a baby lamb born on Christmas night.
Stroking the animal's back, one tire dealer remarked, "It feels as soft as wool!" To which the handler responded: "It is wool. Where do you think it comes from?"
Cousin of "Night of the Living Dead"—A recent edition of the Specialty Equipment Market Association's "Fast Facts" newsletter noted an updated Web site for a Wells River, Vt.-based firm with the odd name of Top Dead Center Apparel.
But the company's Internet address—www.topdead.com—makes it sound like it rates the deceased. (Not to be confused with dirtnap.com and, for Jerry Garcia lovers, deadheads.com.)
Speaking of the past...at Goodyear's recent dealer meeting in Las Vegas, the company pulled off a real coup by bringing John Boyd Dunlop back from the dead, so to speak. And he hardly looked worse for the wear.
During one breakout session, P. David Campbell, vice chairman and president of Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America Ltd., carried on an actual conversation with J.B. himself. In the flesh (see photo at left). And no seance was involved.
Mr. Campbell traced the history of the Dunlop brand all the way back to when J.B. took that fateful bike ride on the pneumatic tire he'd developed.
Will sales of the Dunlop brand continue to experience rebirth under Mother Goodyear's tutelage? Who knows. But they sure pulled off a miracle raising J.B. from his long sleep.