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Goodyear debuts ad campaign

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KISSIMMEE, Fla.—Goodyear hopes to give consumers some direction with a new advertising campaign—dubbed “Get There”—as it tries to provide its dealers some profit potential with a new Eagle tire for high-end vehicles.

Both initiatives were announced during the Akron-based tire maker's annual dealer conference Feb. 3-5 in Kissimmee.

The ad campaign seeks to combine the tire maker's iconic blimp with what executives called the “essence” of the brand. The campaign will kick off Feb. 18 during the televised Daytona 500 that officials said attracts about 20 million viewers. The campaign also will have print and online components.

Larry Mason, president of consumer tires for Good¬year's North American Tire (NAT) unit, said the Good¬year brand is captured in the idea of transporting people to their destinations safely and comfortably. The term “Get There” was a natural extension, he said.

“It represents our values, our attitude and our commitment to consumers,” he told dealers. “It's a message that's designed to break through and perfectly capture the essence of Goodyear.”

The tagline will be paired with the blimp and two actors portraying blimp pilots. In one commercial, a younger pilot asks the older pilot what he enjoys most about the job. The pilot says he enjoys watching people travel to many different places and being part of the company that helps them do so. The younger pilot responds, “I like seeing all the games. And all that stuff you said, too.”

Similar ads will promote specific products, such as Goodyear's Assurance with TripleTred tire. Spots also will appear in local markets to highlight dedicated retail promotions.

Dealers interviewed by Tire Business were interested in the new tagline.

“I love it,” said Tom Brenner, vice president and distribution manager at S&S Tire in Lexington, Ky. “It looks like Goodyear's starting to get real aggressive again, regaining their market share.”

Mr. Mason indicated that the campaingn will not be a short-lived promotion.

“This is an idea that's as big as the blimp itself,” he told dealers. “This is more than a one- or two-year campaign. This is an idea that we know we can get behind for years to come.”

He declined to say how much Goodyear will spend on the campaign, but executives expect it to generate more impressions than the Assurance brand campaign in 2004. At that time, officials said the Assurance campaign cost more than $50 million.

Goodyear executives also linked the “Get There” idea to its continuing turnaround strategy.

“We've come twice as far as I thought we were capable of getting,” Jack Winterton, vice president and general manager of channel sales, said of the firm's progress since 2003. “But it's still very humbling to know that we're only halfway there….And that's where 'Get There' deeply resonates with me. Sure, it's a great tagline, but it's much, much more than that. 'Get There' is an entire way that our company can rally around you, our customer.”

Keeping up its pace of new tire introductions, Good¬year also launched the Eagle F1 All-Season ultra-high performance tire.

It will be available in 22 sizes in July with 16 more sizes planned later, which officials said would cover 76 percent of the UHP tire segment.

The tire features a UHP zone on the shoulder blocks and in the center rib. Between these segments are all-season tread designs to improve driving in snow and wet. Carbon fiber in the sidewalls help stiffen the sides of the tire to maintain enhanced contact with the road during hard turns, Goodyear said.

The tire also features TredLock Technology, which is a series of cups and domes between the tread grooves that give the tire biting edges in all-season conditions. During a turn, the cups and domes lock the tread together to stiffen the tread area.

“We've had some really good traction tires, and we've had some good performance (tires),” said Chris Brazzeal, general manager and vice president of Brazzeal Tire & Service in Tampa, Fla. “They obviously needed to blend those.”

Mr. Brazzeal said the higher end UHP market accounts for 30 to 40 percent of his family's business.

Pete Muirhead, owner of Gemini dealership Juno Beach Tire & Auto Center in Juno Beach, Fla., also is impressed with the tire. “It's a huge segment of our business, so I believe it's going to be very helpful for us, provided they can get production up and get the thing made,” he said.

Executives said the launch date was timed to coincide with when they expect to have supply running normally again following last year's United Steelworkers strike.

The tire maker also announced more sizes for its Wrangler SR-A tire, with 25 new sizes planned for 40 total.

Two winter tires—the Ultra Grip Performance and Ultra Grip SUV—will be available in the U.S. and Canada for the 2007-2008 winter season. These tires are designed to provide enhanced grip and control in snowy conditions while maintaining performance in dry situations. The Ultra Grip Performance will be offered in 17 sizes.

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