Super Bowl Sponsor Bridgestone Taps New Creative Agency of Record

After Seven Years With Richards Group, Tiremaker Taps Publicis, Dallas

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Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations -- a major Super Bowl sponsor of the last several years -- has named Publicis Dallas its lead creative and strategic agency.

The move ends a seven-year relationship with crosstown shop The Richards Group as the creative agency of record for the Bridgestone brand in North America. During that time, Richards Group was responsible for numerous Super Bowl ads for the tiremaker which were humorous and buzzy, including one about Bridgestone tires helping avoid squishing a squirrel in the road, and another about a messy "Reply All" e-mail blunder in the office. Bridgestone has been known to utilize its Super Bowl ads well beyond the big game too.

Said Bridgestone Americas' CMO Philip Dobbs in a statement: "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."

He noted that the relationship isn't totally over with Richards Group, as the agency's sports marketing arm will continue to help on certain aspects of the account. "Sports marketing is an important part of our brand building strategy, and we are pleased that Haymaker will continue to support us in this area," said Mr. Dobbs. "Overall, 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."

"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," said Richards Group in a statement.

The account is a coup for Publicis, Dallas, which works with CiCi's Pizza, Nestle's Pure Life brand and Terminix.

Bridgestone Corp., the parent of Bridgestone Americas, spent a total of $85 million on U.S. measured media in 2012, with the largest chunk -- about half the total figure -- devoted to marketing Bridgestone Tire brand.

Whether the company continues its Super Bowl presence remains to be seen. It has pulled back some already, last year surrendering the sponsorship of the half time show it had since 2008 -- backing to everything from Tom Petty singing "American Girl" to rapper M.I.A. flashing a middle finger during a performance by Madonna.

It is still known as the "Official Tire of the National Football League," and is likely to continue being a Super Bowl advertiser, however.

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