Michelin partners with rock band 5 Seconds of Summer to promote tire safety

The partnership is the latest activation of Michelin's Beyond the Driving Test campaign, which started in 2014.

5 Seconds of Summer (via the band's Twitter page)
5 Seconds of Summer (via the band's Twitter page)

Company: Michelin
Campaign: Beyond the Driving Test – Michelin Puts Air in Teens’ Tire Awareness
Agency: Ketchum (Michelin's PR AOR)
Duration: Early 2014 – Ongoing

French tire manufacturer Michelin has partnered with the band 5 Seconds of Summer to help teens stay abreast of tire safety knowledge.

The partnership is the latest activation of Michelin’s Beyond the Driving Test campaign, which started in 2014. The public service campaign aims to educate teen drivers about tire safety. In addition, Michelin works with state officials and agencies to adopt more comprehensive tire safety information being featured in driver's education curriculum.

In March, Michelin and Ketchum received the PRWeek Award for Community Relations Campaign of the Year for their work on Beyond the Driving Test.

In 2014, Michelin and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) conducted an audit of driver’s education manuals from 50 states and found a significant gap: only two states had adequate tire safety information, which included instruction on how to properly check tire pressure and tread wear.

Leading up to the campaign, Michelin and Ketchum conducted a survey of 1,001 teens and parents, raising the question of where teens were getting tire maintenance information. One in four teens reported that they never check the condition of their tires and less than half checked their tires monthly.

The campaign’s aim is to increase the level of awareness and education of tire safety by targeting teen drivers themselves and those who teach them safe driving practices, such as their parents and driver’s education instructors.

Michelin had three primary goals over the course of the campaign launch phase: Advocate for improvements to state-provided driver’s education materials, with the long-term goal of all 50 states by 2020; increase awareness and engagement among teen drivers and their parents about tire safety through paid, earned, shared and owned channels; and increase perception among target consumers of the Michelin brand emotional attributes related to safety, which experienced a 9% drop in 2013.

The campaign team knew reaching teens through the right outlets would be crucial to bolstering awareness of the campaign. Found research indicated teens were more likely to benefit from peer-to-peer learning, showing that six in ten teens view social media and YouTube stars as having strong authority and are more likely to take cues from them as role models.

In 2016, Michelin looked to continue momentum for the campaign through a partnership with 5 Seconds of Summer, a band popular amongst the target demographic, who could help reach a large number of teens by airing sponsored Beyond the Driving Test road safety videos at their summer concert series.

"With the 5 Seconds of Summer campaign, the band's song ‘Long Way Home’ first caught our attention with its great lyrics about freedom, driving, youth, and relationships," explained Edna Johnson, VP, communications and brands at Michelin North America. "Then we learned the band was organizing a summer concert tour in search of appropriate safety messages. We immediately saw it as a perfect match for our program."

Michelin premiered a series of new tire safety videos at 5 Seconds of Summer’s first Sounds Live Feels Live U.S. show at Madison Square Garden on July 15, 2016.

To further leverage the idea of meeting teens on their turf, Michelin also sent tire safety "street teams" to conduct tire safety demonstrations at select 5 Seconds of Summer concert venues throughout the summer and fall.

Just a few weeks ago, in Honolulu, Michelin led two tire safety workshops with more than 100 driver’s education instructors and state department of transportation representatives. In addition, campaign reps "took over" eight driver’s education classes, taught students about tire safety, and handed out tire pressure gauges. They also provided Glove Box Guides with vehicle and tire safety tips.

The launch of the campaign in 2014 was brought on by a series of videos starring teen YouTube stars Alexis Zall, Brent Rivera, and Jack and Jack, who had a combined fan base in the millions. Michelin worked with the influencers to produce and push out mini-tutorials in tire safety via social media, including the penny test to check tread wear.

In conjunction with the video series was broad consumer-interest, parenting, teen and auto media outreach to raise awareness of gaps in driver’s education, with emphasis on the Michelin survey showing how few teens pay attention to their tires.

Michelin and FIA also pushed the issue at a policy level, calling for all 50 states to include tire safety information in their driver's education materials by the year 2020. The campaign team initiated a state-by-state advocacy program with the goal of securing commitments from six states within the first year.

To date, Michelin and Ketchum have secured commitments from 33 states to update driver's education materials with consistent tire maintenance and safety information. These include states with high concentrations of teen drivers like Florida and Georgia, which have the third and tenth highest numbers, respectively, of licensed drivers in the country.

The teen influencer campaign videos have resulted in 1.5 million views on YouTube, surpassing the goal of 700,000. Additionally, Michelin’s new tire safety videos shown at 5 Seconds of Summer’s shows were seen by at least 30,000 fans in five different cities.

Earned outreach and paid support generated over 4,100 placements about the campaign, including features in Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, and 119 million media impressions, measured across social and traditional outlets.

"As part of this effort to raise awareness and educate teens about the importance of tire safety, Michelin trained over 800 driver’s ed instructors with a total reach of more than 250,000 new drivers," added Johnson.

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