Firestone Aims to Broaden Perceptions with New Campaign

Three Questions with Auto Marketer Arthur Reingold

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When most people hear Firestone, they think tires. But now the iconic brand is challenging consumers to think of it as something more--it wants to be known as a car company.

In a new campaign, the company puts forward its message with commercials that look more like something from one of the big car manufacturers. In the second phase of the campaign, which launched earlier this week, the focus moves to autocare stores. Parent company Bridgestone has a network of more than 2,200 tire and automotive service centers.

Arthur Reingold, vp-marketing
Arthur Reingold, vp-marketing

"We feel strongly that the campaign will break through the clutter, and we have the appropriate weight in place to make sure that happens," said Arthur Reingold, vp-marketing for Bridgestone Retail Operations. "We haven't been on the air in quite some time, as far as our complete autocare center, so this is a huge event for us."

Ad Age caught up with Mr. Reingold, who joined the company in October from Walgreens, to discuss why Firestone hasn't been on the air in more than a decade.

Ad Age: Why bring the brand back to TV now?

Mr. Reingold: We are working to bring the brand back into the forefront of America. It's an iconic brand. The campaign has unbelievable insight. We're really about celebrating cars long after they've been driven off the dealership lot. ...So we felt that we had that great message to communicate and it was time to bring that message to the airwaves.

Ad Age: Can you talk about the message of the campaign and how you came to that message?

Mr. Reingold: It goes back to some great work by Leo Burnett and our team on really understanding the consumer insight of the strategy that was at play here. We knew we needed a campaign that would break through all the clutter.

When you look at the consumer insight and you look at the history of the brand itself, the whole idea of us being a car company, even though we've never made a car resonated very strongly. So the simple truth that was uncovered was that even though Firestone's never made a single car, Firestone is a car company. All those years in business, we've helped to make millions run better, faster, longer.

Ad Age: The idea of helping cars run faster, longer seems to fit these economic times when people are watching their dollars. Was there some kind of insight that led to that message?

Mr. Reingold: The average age of all cars and trucks on the road is approaching 11 years. To your point, people are holding on to their cars longer for a lot of reasons. Again, one of the insights we discovered is there is a large group of car owners out there that are proud to own and maintain their cars far beyond five, six, seven years. So the time was right for us to refocus, and make sure that people understand that at Firestone we not only offer tires, but also we offer maintenance and repairs. We're a one-stop shop to help those people keep their cars running.

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