For the second year in a row, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is holding its Ultimate Bowl Tour promotion with the hopes of raising the Cooper brand's familiarity with sports fans.
The Findlay-based tire maker will again fuel up the private jet and take one lucky winner with three friends to five of college football's top bowl games-including the national championship-in San Antonio; Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans; Miami; and Pasadena, Calif.
Cooper kicked off the promotion on Aug. 1 and is hoping that the second time around gains more brand exposure and participation than last year, according to Dave Craig, Cooper's director of North American advertising.
``At the end of the day, I think (the Ultimate Bowl Tour) does bring a higher level of awareness back to the Cooper brand,'' Mr. Craig said, noting that the promotion is a natural fit to tie in with Cooper's collegiate sports sponsorship.
Consumers can enter the sweepstakes at any of Cooper's 5,000 dealer locations or by logging on to www.ultimatebowltour.com up to Nov. 14. Cooper mailed out Ultimate Bowl Tour point-of-sale materials in mid-July that include posters, counter cards and entry forms.
The grand-prize winner will be announced in early December, Cooper said, as well as 25 first-prize winners who will receive a set of Cooper tires valued at $500. Fifty second-prize winners will receive Ultimate Bowl Tour gift packs that include Cooper apparel.
Mr. Craig noted that this year's sweepstakes features a more complementary lineup of advertising targeted to college football fans. ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit again will serve as Cooper's spokesman for the Ultimate Bowl Tour, appearing in broadcast, print and Internet ads that will run on ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN.com, ESPN radio and in ESPN, The Magazine.
``The Ultimate Bowl Tour brings new meaning to the words `fantasy football,''' Mr. Herbstreit said. ``There aren't many college sports fans who can say they've been to these five awesome bowl games during their lifetime-let alone to all of them in one trip on a private jet.''
Regional football coverage of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Mountain West, PAC-10 and Southeast Conference games also will feature Ultimate Bowl Tour advertising.
Is the Ultimate Bowl Tour now an annual event for Cooper? Mr. Craig said Cooper has committed to the promotion over a two-year period, and ``it remains to be seen'' if the tire maker will continue the sweepstakes.
Terry Speck, co-owner of Bowling Green, Ohio-based Speck Sales Inc., said he just received his POS materials on the Ultimate Tire Bowl and is planning to take advantage of an opportunity to advertise the sweepstakes and his store during a local radio broadcast of this year's Ohio State University and Bowling Green State University game. He said he isn't receiving any spiffs or incentives from Cooper to advertise the sweepstakes, but Cooper's national advertising campaign and its dealer locator for local markets are still a benefit to him.
Some customers came in to Keister's Tire Center in Macomb, Ill., this past spring and asked President John Schreiber if the sweepstakes would be offered again this year.
``People are looking for an opportunity to get something for nothing,'' he said. ``And who wouldn't want to fly around the country?''
Mr. Schreiber said he plans to tie the sweepstakes in to his store ads a little more this year and to take advantage of Cooper's gathering of contact information of all entries, which it will post online for dealers. ``If we want to do some mailers, it saves us some trouble,'' Mr. Schreiber said of the data.