Firestone retains new strategy firm

NASHVILLE, TN: Public Strategies of Austin, TX has emerged as a player in Bridgestone/Firestone's recovery.

NASHVILLE, TN: Public Strategies of Austin, TX has emerged as a player in Bridgestone/Firestone's recovery.

NASHVILLE, TN: Public Strategies of Austin, TX has emerged as a player in Bridgestone/Firestone's recovery.

The firm has handled the government relations element for B/F since Sept. 22, joining Ketchum, the tire manufacturer's new PR agency.

PSI managing director Jeff Eller said: 'We're providing strategy and coordination between Nashville (B/F headquarters), the efforts in DC and some of the state-based efforts.' PS has three people in DC on the account and two people, including Eller, in Nashville.

B/F hasn't had an on-the-ground DC lobbyist, PAC or corporate office in recent memory, which most public affairs practitioners would view as a mistake given DC's importance as a legislative and regulatory center where influence counts.

And the recent B/F crisis was actually a repeat of a similar mistake Firestone made during a 1978 recall, according to a new university case study.

'In the 1978 recall, Firestone outraged some consumers, saying that they might have to wait up to a year before replacement tires would be available,' states the case study by students at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.

Ford also comes in for criticism in the study. A Sept. 15, 1999 memo from Ford's group VP for purchasing discussed problems with treads separating from tires on Ford Explorer SUVs in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Venezuela.

The memo went to eight Ford executives, including the VP of PR, but the company's general counsel and its VP for safety and environmental issues were not on the circulation list.





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