By Rupal Parekh, Crain News Service
DALLAS (July 7, 2013) — Bridgestone Americas is moving its Bridgestone-brand advertising account for North America to Publicis Dallas, ending a seven-year relationship with crosstown shop Richards Group.
The move reunites the Bridgestone- and Firestone-brand accounts under one agency. Bridgestone moved the Firestone-brand account — including the Firestone Complete Auto Care retail business — to Publicis' Leo Burnett USA unit in April 2012.
Richards Group's Haymaker unit retains Bridgestone's sports marketing business, however.
Commenting the move to Publicis, Bridgestone Americas' Chief Marketing Officer Philip Dobbs said, "Overerall, we believe this team has the right combination of strategy, creativity, commitment and service to excite our customers and further deepen their relationship with our Bridgestone brand."
Bridgestone Corp., the parent of Bridgestone Americas, spent $85 million on U.S. measured media in 2012, with the largest chunk — about half the total figure — devoted to marketing the Bridgestone tire brand.
Bridgestone did not say when the agency's first work would debut.
Regarding Richards Group, Mr. Dobbs said, "We have enjoyed a strong and effective relationship with The Richards Group over the past seven years, and we thank them for their support of our team and our brand.
Bridgestone's current "Time to Perform" sports-themed advertising campaign — featuring humorous vignettes of how basketball, football and hockey could be transformed using Bridgestone polymer technology — has been running since January 2012.
Sports marketing is a separate promotional tool, however. Bridgestone has established "official tire" status with the National Football League and National Hockey League and the Firestone brand is a sponsor of the voting for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.
"Sports marketing is an important part of our brand-building strategy," Mr. Dobbs said, "and we are pleased that Haymaker will continue to support us in this area."
For its part, Richards Group said, "We are proud of the great work that our sports and entertainment group, Haymaker, does for Bridgestone, and are pleased that they will continue their partnership with the brand,"
Other major accounts handled by Publicis include CiCi's Pizza, Nestle's Pure Life brand and Terminix. Publicis Dallas is part of Paris-based Publicis Groupe.
Bridgestone's current Firestone-brand advertising, the "Drive a Firestone" campaign, debuted in September 2012.
Rupal Parekh is a reporter for Advertising Age, a sister publication of Tire Business. This version contains original reporting by Tire Business staff.