For the third straight year Goodyear is pushing its national ``free air'' campaign designed to help customers improve tire fuel economy through free tire inspections and air fill-ups.
As part of the program, customers can go year-round to any of the 750-plus Goodyear-owned service outlets or participating independent dealer locations in the U.S. to have their tires checked and filled with air at no cost.
``Gas prices are going up and people don't have the funds they used to have, so the dealers are finding ways to keep customers coming back,'' said Andy Traicoff, director, customer marketing North American Tire. ``...This is to give people a chance to make their vehicle work better for them.''
The tire maker estimated that Americans will make 657 million long-distance trips this summer, and the campaign could save them more than $1.5 billion in unnecessary fuel costs. Savings for drivers would be roughly $2 per fill-up.
While the program basically is unchanged from past years, this year Goodyear is taking new marketing approaches in order to make the campaign more localized, Mr. Traicoff said.
``We're really pushing our program for the dealers as much as possible to drive traffic into the businesses,'' he said.
In the past, the tire maker has advertised the program nationally and left it up to customers to make their way to a Goodyear dealership. This year, feedback from dealers prompted the company to give them more control in the marketing side of the campaign.
Goodyear dealers have received a ``free air'' campaign kit that includes multiple showroom displays along with a promotion guide that gives tips on ways to advertise the program. Inside the kit, dealers can find pre-made scripts that can be used during television and radio commercials and other media relations tools and tips.
The company also is asking dealers to personalize the program by advertising as if it was their own.
Inflation checks also benefit dealers by allowing them to find other problems-such as low tread depth-that can help boost store sales. Aside from its focus on lowering fuel costs, the program's goal is to help bring in new business and start relationships between dealers and their customers on a positive note.
``We want people to know that Goodyear is the place to go when you have a worry or concern about your tires,'' Mr. Traicoff said.