Goodyear drives results with 'Troops' campaign

Goodyear is the exclusive supplier of racing tires for NASCAR's top three circuits, and this year it used branding space on racing tires to benefit the nonprofit Support Our Troops (SOT)

Client: Goodyear (Akron, OH)

Agency: Coyne PR (Parsippany, NJ)

Campaign: Support Our Troops Initiative

Duration: July – November 2010

Budget:  $70,000

Goodyear is the exclusive supplier of racing tires for NASCAR's top three circuits, and this year it used branding space on racing tires to benefit the nonprofit Support Our Troops (SOT).

Ed Markey, VP of PR for Goodyear's North American Tire division says the idea grew from a “what if” discussion about trying something new on sidewalls. “Support Our Troops” was printed on racing tires, which were auctioned to benefit the nonprofit. Coyne PR, AOR for Goodyear's North American consumer business, helped execute the campaign.

Strategy:

Kris Kienzl, Goodyear's NASCAR marketing manager, explains that benefiting SOT made sense as both NASCAR and Goodyear have historically supported the military.

“We [wanted] to give back,” Kienzl says. “It had to be credible and meaningful to Goodyear, NASCAR, and the people who would see it.”

The tires debuted at NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races over the July 4th weekend. Goodyear continues to conduct fundraising at GoodyearSupportOurTroops.com, where visitors could bid on tires autographed by drivers, and can still donate. Goodyear contributed a $20,000 gift. Media relations and advertising drove awareness.

Tactics:

NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer and Martin Boire, executive director of SOT, conducted a July 1 SMT announcing the campaign and unveiling the tires. Bowyer also taped an ANR that was distributed nationally. A press conference at Daytona with Goodyear representatives, Boire, and NASCAR driver Ryan Newman followed on July 2. 

Geoff Phelps, Coyne VP, says targets included consumer media, tire trades, sports outlets, and key NASCAR bloggers. The team worked closely with SOT on press events and in reaching military media and dailies.

Goodyear.com's homepage was redesigned to integrate campaign information and links to GoodyearSupportOurTroops.com, which includes more than 20 “thank you” video messages from NASCAR drivers that visitors can email to military personnel. Drivers autographed tires after the races, and the auction ran online July 3 to July 17. Other fundraising efforts include dealer contributions and consumer rebates benefiting SOT.

Two autographed tires are currently circulating through military camps in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Results:

The campaign has raised more than $60,000 raised for SOT to date, Kienzl says. As of September 15, visitors to the website topped 240,000.

Media coverage included outlets such USA Today, CNN Headline News, and the AP. 

Future:

The team is preparing for a November 14 press conference and check presentation to Support Our Troops at the Cobalt Tools 500 race in Phoenix.

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