Call it ``edutainment'' or consumer empowerment.
Just as Goodyear touts the bells and whistles of its new Eagle F1 GS-D3, the company has an accompanying strategy to drive potential customers to a snazzy new Web site for the tires: www.eaglef1.com.
The site packages education-tire specifications, construction details-with entertainment. And, for the ultimate ``experience''-at least for the tire maker and its dealers-eaglef1.com puts buyer and retailer together via a dealer locator feature.
Goodyear figures that most car enthusiasts-not to mention PlayStation junkies-will take to the site, well, like Aquatreds to water. Crank up the currently available ``driving experience'' and you see and hear Derek Bell, five-time winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans, drive a 520-horsepower Ruf R Porsche turbo around the 2.5-mile A1 Ring track in Austria.
From your chair, just click, click, click and you can listen to Mr. Bell, the sound of the turbocharged six-cylinder winding out or three different music soundtracks. Visitors to the Web site also can activate six smaller screens that show a bird's-eye view of the car on the track, a close-up showing the car's position on the track, the g-force, speed, time and gear.
Andy Traicoff, general marketing manager for the Goodyear brand, sat behind the mirror at a good mix of focus groups held with Corvette, Viper, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche and Lexus owners.
``Each of those individuals liked cool cars and fast cars. But they all wanted a different piece of information,'' Mr. Traicoff said. ``So we said, `Let's share information.'
``We talked about how best to get information to these consumers. It came down to through the Web site. We could get very detailed. We could do demonstrations. It all made sense.
``Interactive media was the right thing to do. We could deliver high-quality video images and rich data to the consumer-what they needed to make their decisions.''
Two more multimedia shows, featuring different tracks, drivers and cars, will be unveiled in the coming weeks, but Mr. Traicoff promised that ``a lot more exciting things'' will be showing up on eaglef1.com.
Even before the site was announced, some enthusiasts sniffed it out. Tomme Eng, a Houston engineer who autocrosses his BMW M3, found the site ``impressive.'' And yup, he's in the market for a set of tires.