NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 23, 2000)—As Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. moves to complete its tire recall, the company has taken another step towards rebuilding consumer confidence in its Firestone brand—advertising dealer testimonials.
During the weekend of Oct. 14, the Nashville-based tire maker featured 10 of its independent dealers in a national newspaper ad campaign that ran in 35 U.S. markets. Using a theme of "We Believe in Firestone," the ads included photos of those dealers commenting on why they trust the brand and continue to sell it.
"A number of dealers came to us indicating they wanted to do something because they stood behind the Firestone brand," a BFS spokesman said.
Some of the ads displayed all 10 dealers supporting Firestone while others only the dealer who is well known in a particular market, the spokesman said.
So far, the "We Believe" campaign is a one-time deal, though BFS may decide to continue it and even include more independent dealers, according to the spokesman. The tire maker´s top priority now is replacing all its recalled Firestone tires, he said.
The ads also are featured in the current issues of various trade publications, including Tire Business.
One dealer who participated in the "We Believe" campaign—Paul Swentzel, president of Lexington, Ky.-based S & S Tire Inc.—said he already had launched his own ad campaign defending the Firestone brand before he agreed to BFS nationwide ads.
"The plain fact is, we just have had no trouble with the Firestone product," Mr. Swentzel said. "It´s been one of the best values in the marketplace. We think it´s a crime that (BFS) is taking a hit like this because we just have so many satisfied customers and we´ve been so happy with the product."
Another ad participant—Larry Morgan of Morgan Tire & Auto Inc., BFS´ largest independent retailer—said he has received criticism from customers for his support of BFS but still would recommend the Firestone brand to anyone.
"The industry knows this isn´t a product problem," Mr. Morgan told Tire Business "Maybe we´re all naive, but that´s the way we feel."