After last year's goal of 5,000 retail outlets participating in National Tire Safety Week was nearly doubled during the actual event, the Rubber Manufacturers Association decided not to put an actual goal on this year's campaign.
``Rather than look at overall numbers, we want to look at the overall quality of the program,'' said Dan Zielinski, vice president of communications for the RMA.
In 2004, the RMA had wanted to sign on about 5,000 retail outlets to participate in the annual campaign, with involvement ranging from handing out brochures, to local advertising to tire inspection events. More than 9,000 stores ended up taking part. Many retailers have committed to participating again, Mr. Zielinski said.
The level of involvement also was up among those participating, with more outlets including tire safety elements in their advertising and checking air pressure.
``That, to us, is probably the better measure of the quality of the program,'' he added.
This year's tire safety week, slated for April 24-30, will not see any major changes, Mr. Zielinski told Tire Business. One complaint from retailers last year was that they found out about the event too late, so the RMA is trying to spread the word faster and sooner this year. The association already sent out an initial mailing in November and will follow up again in the near future. The group also is working with the Tire Industry Association and state associations to inform dealers.
He said many retailers should give themselves at least two months to plan a safety week campaign.
The RMA has yet to decide which markets it will highlight with local partnerships. Last year the group held tire care events with retailers in Phoenix, Austin, Texas, Baltimore and Johnstown, Pa.
Mr. Zielinski said the association should know where the clinics will be by early February. The main consideration is where the events will garner the most awareness.
The group also hopes to offer some banners advertising free air pressure checks, although those are likely to be in short supply.
``The more retailers can encourage people to stop by just to have their air pressure checked would be a great benefit,'' Mr. Zielinski said.
In 2004, media outreach initiatives produced more than 100 print stories, 277 television stories, more than 600 radio news placements and nearly 1,000 radio public service announcements, the RMA said. More than 20 state and local governments also passed proclamations recognizing the safety week.
Retail tire dealership participants in last year's events included Big 10 Tire Stores Inc., Best One Tire & Service, Belle Tire Distributors Inc., Big O Tires Inc., Discount Tire Co., Kauffman Tire Inc., Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc., Merchant's Inc., National Tire & Battery, Northwest Tire Factory L.L.C., Peerless Tyre Co., Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack, Tire Centers L.L.C., Tire Kingdom Inc., Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire & Auto Centers, Sullivan Tire Co. Inc., Town Fair Tire Centers Inc., and VIP Discount Auto Centers Inc., among others.
Canadian dealers also are participating in Tire Safety Week, thanks to the efforts of the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) and a handful of Canadian government agencies.
The Canadian ``Be Tire Smart'' campaign-originally an effort of the RAC/RMA and Transport Canada-gained valuable support last year when Environment Canada and the National Resources Council joined forces to help generate the groups' ``Riding On Air'' information brochure.
To support the effort, the entities also created a Web site-www.betiresmart.ca-and provided French translations of the literature (``Gardez vos Pneus en Forme'') for Quebec and other French-speaking regions.