NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 11, 2004) — The 1980s-era “Wherever Wheels Are Rolling” ads for Firestone tires have received a tune-up and some new tread and are rolling in a year-long nationwide advertising campaign featuring three new 30-second commercials.
Bridgestone/Firestone has tripled its Firestone-brand ad budget in preparation for the ads, which launched March 4 in BFS's Nashville backyard, and will debut nationwide March 21. John Gamauf, president of BFS's consumer replacement tire division, told Tire Business the campaign—another move to continue energizing the Firestone brand—has modernized the old “Where the rubber meets the road…” theme to target a younger generation of consumers.
The company went to its dealers for advice, he said, and among suggestions, they urged a return to the popular commercial. Champion racer Mario Andretti, a longtime Firestone celebrity spokesperson/goodwill ambassador, is featured in two of the three new spots, which were produced by Grey Advertising, a New York City agency.
While the company's Bridgestone brand sales have increased in the first two months of this year, 5.5 percent in passenger and 7.5 percent in light truck, Mr. Gamauf said, Firestone passenger tire sales rose 16.5 percent and Firestone light truck tire sales skyrocketed 27.8 percent vs. the same 2003 period.
The new commercials will run primarily on cable TV stations nationwide as well as on network TV in 25 selected markets, according to Michael Fluck, director of advertising for BFS's North American tire unit. They will be augmented by a series of Indy Racing League commercials featuring testimonies by six drivers who've won on Firestone tires.