NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 14, 2005) — Bridgestone/Firestone's new music video commercials promoting the Bridgestone brand and its product lines are raising some eyebrows.
A week after BFS launched the commercials Feb. 14, Adage.com, the online edition of Advertising Age, a sister publication of Tire Business, named the Dueler commercial featuring flamenco dancers tangoing as one of its eight TV spots of the week. BFS' hip-hop commercial rapping the Potenza line also made Adage.com's top eight during the week of Feb. 28—marking the first time the tire maker's ads have earned mention on the online Web site.
In its critique of the Potenza commercial, Adage.com noted it was the second Bridgestone ad they've featured in two weeks, “but, after all, it is the company's first branding campaign in 20 years. And in terms of a project where the rubber meets the dance floor, it hardly gets better than this.” Adage.com Editor Hoag Levins said the “feel-good ads” used a good mix of entertainment and creativity not typical of tire commercials, and as a result, they stood out among the dozens of new commercials submitted to the publication each week.
The Bridgestone branding campaign features a distinct commercial for each of four product lines—Dueler, Potenza, Turanza and Blizzak—with three of those commercials displaying a sex appeal element not seen in prior Bridgestone TV ads. The Blizzak spot departs from the dance theme by showing speed skaters racing to the music.
Complementing the cable TV ads is an extensive print ad campaign that will be seen in more than 100 newspapers and magazines. According to Brand Week magazine, BFS' Bridgestone TV and print ad campaign costs an estimated $65 million, a figure a BFS spokeswoman declined to confirm.
New York-based Grey Worldwide produced the spots with the intention of reaching out to a younger demographic with something that would be noticeable and memorable, said Charlie Herzog, Grey's senior vice president, account management.
“It's not a typical tire commercial,” Mr. Herzog said. “What we're trying to do is to come up with concepts that relate back to the particular characteristics of the tire's feature. The ice skaters and the ice are an analogy for how the snow tire works on the ice. The tango is sort of sophisticated and elegant, which are the characteristics that we want to highlight in the Dueler tire. So, we try to link the most important benefits of the product to a story in some sort of analogous way.”
Mr. Herzog said feedback he has received from people inside his agency and from other corners of the advertising industry has been positive, with many noting this is a “departure for the tire category.” He said people are paying attention to the commercials and liking them.
Michael Fluck, BFS' advertising and Internet manager, said the commercials were a hit with BFS employees during the tire maker's recent meeting of U.S.-based associates and management.
“We've heard a lot of feedback from employees who've seen our spots, a lot of excitement that we're doing something different…. We've definitely had some calls from some customers or employees saying they love the new spots,” Mr. Fluck said. “They're seeing them. All of those things are good for us.”