Parents taking their kids to see Shrek 2 this month may first get a tire-buying lesson.
In May, Goodyear will show 90-second commercials for its Assurance tire line during previews in movie theatres. Directed by Jan De Bont of Speed, Twister and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider fame, the commercials will be shown nationwide only at AMC Entertainment Inc. theaters. The commercials, like their 30-second television counterparts that began April 26, are narrated by actor Patrick Stewart, most known for his role as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Though the TV commercials continue for the bulk of the year, the 90-second trailers are only playing in May to coincide with the kickoff of the summer movie season Memorial Day weekend. Movies coming out this month include the Shrek sequel, Van Helsing and Troy.
Both commercials are part of a $50 million-plus marketing campaign for the two Assurance tires-the biggest product launch for the struggling tire maker in a decade. Goodyear unveiled the Assurance TripleTred all-season tire and the Assurance ComforTred luxury touring tire in February.
``This is Goodyear's biggest advertising campaign since the launch of the original Aquatred tire in 1992,'' said Mike Kitz, Goodyear vice president of marketing and brand management. ``The significance of two breakthrough tires and the introduction of a new Goodyear sub-brand, Assurance, certainly merits this kind of investment.''
The 90-second commercial, recently shown exclusively to Tire Business, features a driver entering the ``Assurance'' zone, where he encounters severe wet and snow conditions as well as falling rocks on a dry course. The ad, filmed in Iceland, is a longer version of the similar TV ad, except that the long version only has narration at the end, while the television ad describes the tires as the driver avoids an avalanche and thundering water.
The television ad will air on both cable and network TV, including ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, MSNBC, TBS, CNBC, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. The commercial will run most often during primetime hours as well as late-night hours, with spots appearing on ``The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'' and the ``Late Show with David Letterman.''
Goodyear expects 85 percent of the consumers in its target audience will see the ad an average of 22 times over the course of the campaign.
Mr. Kitz said the media campaign was timed to coincide with the tires' availability. ``When we go on the air, people (can) go into Goodyear dealers and find it,'' he said.
Though he would not give specific numbers, Mr. Kitz said Assurance orders are stronger than the tire maker's initial forecasts. ``Dealers are really rallying behind this product,'' he told Tire Business.
The media campaign was designed by Akron ad agency Hitchcock Fleming & Associates. A Goodyear spokesman said the tire maker selected the campaign from various ideas offered by its agencies.