BF Goodrich Makes Cameron Crowe Plot Feasible for the Rest of Us

Tire Maker Would Like Your E-mail Address, but Gives You a Great Web Tool in the Bargain

By Published on .

There's this 2005 Cameron Crowe flick called "Elizabethtown." Check it out.

It's a romantic comedy that kind of came and went, which is unfortunate because it had some wonderfully unexpected moments, stellar character acting by Susan Sarandon, Paul Schneider and Loudon Wainwright III, and a very (albeit darkly) funny premise: what happens when you've designed the biggest running-shoe flop ever, and then your father drops dead?

Title: Nation of Go
Marketer: BF Goodrich
Agency: Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
BF Goodrich
Tire maker BF Goodrich has introduced Nation of Go, a website, community and mobile app to plan road trips.
Here's what: romance!

Never mind how. We mention "Elizabethtown" because at one point an utterly charming Kirsten Dunst creates for an utterly depressed Orlando Bloom a sort of ultra trip planner -- like a super-duper AAA TripTik, complete with snapshots of must-see attractions and music tracks for the journey. It turned an ordinary, solitary ride home into an adventure.

If one were alert at the time, one might have wondered, "Hmm, in a world with Flickr and Google Earth and Mapquest and GPS, what's to stop Cameron Crowe's flight of fancy from becoming an online reality?"

Here's what: nothing.

Tire maker BF Goodrich, via the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., has introduced Nation of Go, a website, community and mobile app that allows you both to do what Kirsten Dunst did, or to be the beneficiary of such thoughtfulness. Whether you are a seeker in the Jack Kerouac mold, or an adventurer along "Route 66"/"Then Came Bronson"/"Thelma and Louise" lines or just a sightseer in a Winnebago, there is a place for you at

It doesn't care what (ahem) drives you. Maybe you want to parallel the Appalachian Trail, maybe you want to see Wall Drug with your own eyes, maybe you want to retrace the flight of Bonnie and Clyde. Your motivation is irrelevant to BF Goodrich. So what does it care about?

Here's what: 1) cultivating your passion for the road, no matter the details. 2) your e-mail address.

Oh, yeah, that. If certain parties are correct, the ability for giant industrial corporations to reach all motorists in one fell swoop via mass media is rapidly screeching to a stop. It therefore behooves them to start aggregating motorist relationships one by one. On the downside, this is an extremely inefficient, extremely painstaking process that never, ever ends. On the plus side, the value of those connections is a huge multiple over the value of one motorist who happens to be in the vicinity of an advertisement.

Nobody has credibly quantified that multiple, but the smart money says it's a big one. And the cost of collecting them is trivial. Though the concept may be anathema to those who cling to the gospel of "reach," needing "mass" and having access to "mass" are not the same thing. We are increasingly in a micro world. It's time to get rid of the meat axe and get yourself some scalpels.

One such example is the useful app that gives potential customers something very handy for free. Not only do you get access to qualified prospects via e-mail, you also build priceless goodwill. The key, then, is to make the app as useful (or entertaining) as possible.

This is where falls down a bit. The site enables you to plan drives, track drives, see what others in the community have posted and so on. But it's not the most attractive or intuitive of interfaces. On the other hand, like Kirsten Dunst's character, they had the clever idea of doing it. You know who didn't? Here's who:


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