For the first time in its history, Tire Rack is advertising its products and services on TV.
The mail-order/online tire and wheel company, known for its distribution of high-performance tires, wheels and specialty products, is running a TV commercial featuring winter tires in select cable test markets. It is using the winter driving season as a ``call to action'' for consumers and then will evaluate the commercial's effectiveness, according to Matt Edmonds, Tire Rack's vice president of marketing.
``We're really using (TV) as an expansion of what we've done in print or on the Internet, really just a reinforcement of focusing on areas that are very car-oriented,'' Mr. Edmonds said, referring to Tire Rack's winter tire ads, which draw a comparison between proper footwear and proper tires.
``We're just trying to reinforce our message and expand the vision of our brand, the Tire Rack brand,'' he added.
In mid-November, Tire Rack began running cable TV spots in Hartford, Conn.; Buffalo and Syracuse, N.Y.; Cleveland and Pittsburgh-markets known for heavy snowfall, he said. The commercial will air through Christmas in these cities and focus on the need for winter tires, with a message that conveys the idea that tires are like shoes.
``We know enough to wear the proper footwear when we go outside in the snow,'' Mr. Edmonds said of the commercial. ``Shouldn't it be the same with our tires?''
In the commercial, a man bundles up to go outside and shovel snow, yet puts sandals on his feet and falls repeatedly while trying to shovel. The voiceover message then compares the need to choose the right shoes for the weather to choosing the right tires and continues with the following sound bite: ``Trust our experts at tirerack.com to help you choose from a wide selection featuring Bridgestone Blizzak and other winter tires. The right tires for your car, minivan or SUV at low Tire Rack prices.''
The commercial then mentions the ease of online ordering and the distributor's 3,500 recommended installation outlets and ends with the hook: ``The Tire Rack. The right winter tires at prices that won't leave you cold.''
``It'll be interesting,'' Mr. Edmonds said. ``TV's something that obviously has been used in our industry. We're focusing on where we present our TV (ads), very much in areas where you would typically see national advertising.''
Mr. Edmonds said Tire Rack made a cable network buy exclusively to avoid competing with its dealers in local TV ads. He called the commercial a ``substantial investment'' that can be seen on ESPN, ESPN2, Speed Channel, CNN and other national cable programs. The commercial and its concept were directed in-house, Mr. Edmonds said, while a production company shot the spot and another firm assisted with the media buy.
Mr. Edmonds said he didn't know if the commercial will continue airing after Christmas or if a similar message will be aired for next year's summer driving season. The company did not disclose its spending on the campaign.
``It depends upon the kind of response we get,'' he said.