NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Bridgestone/-Firestone Inc. hopes to reach 80 percent of the U.S. public with its seven-month advertising campaign to promote its ``Making it Right'' action plan for restoring consumer confidence in the Firestone brand.
Eighty percent represents ``a very good cross-section of the audience we are trying to reach,'' said Phil Pacsi, director of consumer tires brand marketing for Bridgestone/ Firestone.
Tire Business talked with Mr. Pacsi and Shu Ishibashi, BFS executive vice president and Consumer Tires Group president, about the introduction of the ``Making it Right'' program April 5.
The Nashville-based tire maker seeks to rebuild its reputation with consumers through the plan, which features such things as a comprehensive quality review team, an early warning system, quality enhancement procedures, extended warranties and $50 million earmarked for quality improvements at production facilities.
The first phase of the ad campaign, which features BFS Chairman, President and CEO John T. Lampe describing the ``Making it Right'' plan, began running April 6 in such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as well as on such news programs as ``60 Minutes,'' ``20/20'' and ``CNN Headline News,'' Mr. Ishibashi said.
The second phase, featuring the father-son race drivers Mario and Michael Andretti, will appear on entertainment programs, as well as auto racing coverage on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, he added.
Bridgestone/Firestone is targeting adults aged 18 to 54 with the ad campaign, with ``a strong focus on females,'' Mr. Pacsi said.
Mr. Ishibashi further described the plan mentioned at the BFS national dealer meeting, held last fall during the International Tire Expo in Las Vegas, to make Bridgestone-brand tires a more important part of the Bridgestone/Firestone product mix.
``In previous years, our product mix more or less was that the Dayton brand represented `good' tires, Firestone `better' and Bridgestone `best,' '' he said.
``This year, we will expand the Bridgestone brand a little into the `better' category, and we will introduce some new Bridgestone products in honor of Bridgestone's 70th anniversary. There's really no change, but Bridgestone will add some categories step by step,'' he said.