Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Marketing Tires

Ah, tires: unless you're a ultra-hardcore car geek, they're really nothing to get excited about. Tires is tires, after all, right?

Which is why I was curious as heck when Goodyear sent me an invite for their Davao sales rally last Saturday. More than the product itself, I wanted to see, well, how they would market a product as boring as a tire.

Why did I get the invite in the first place? Because, low hit count notwithstanding, I'm technically part of "new media", and new media seems to be one of the new marketing avenues of the company. Smart move (not so much in inviting me as in targeting new media in general.)

This being a marketing event, the target audience was primarily press. Now, vultures that they are, the press will readily descend on anything that remotely sounds like a story. Hold the event in a swanky hotel and offer a buffet and you're guaranteed coverage.

The centerpiece come-on was the unveiling of the Ford GT40, a popular late-1960s sports car with a limited production run in 2002. Now that was one sweet looking ride! Too bad we couldn't take it out for a spin.

But...but...but...what does the Ford GT40 have to do with Goodyear?

Well, it was using Goodyear tires (specifically, the Goodyear Eagle F1 -- see, their marketing has got me doing it, too!). So there.

Even more marketing: emphasis on safety, driving programs for women (a little condescending, I thought, but hey...), a local "Highway Heroes" contest, customer satisfaction guarantees, corporate bragging rights (well-deserved as their Las PiƱas plant produces tires)....not a bad spiel, actually.

Another interesting angle was the tie-up with the Tuason Racing School. It's all part of a symbiotic ecosystem: Goodyear gets media mileage from the racing school, and Tuason gets sponsorship. Not a bad deal, not bad at all.

Oh, yes, let's not forget: the race girl in the knee high go-go boots with stratospheric heels.

What were we selling again? Ah, right. Tires. But really, that's for the retailers to flog.

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