Michelin Unveils Safety, Economy, Environment Ad Campaign

Michelin USA is launching a new campaign with a safety, fuel economy, and environmental messages. The integrated TV, print, Internet and radio effort uses the slogan "A Better Way Forward." The new effort for the Greenville, S.C., sales arm of the Michelin Group also features the iconic Michelin Man character, invented as a brand symbol in 1901.

A new site, michelinman.com/forward, touts the company's environmental efforts in manufacturing with a virtual tour of a Michelin plant. A TV spot, which first aired during pre- and post-game broadcasts during the Super Bowl, shows the company's focuses on how Michelin engineers safety into its tires.

Print and banner ads tout product benefits such as lower resistance and flexibility, which benefit fuel economy.

The campaign also expands the Michelin Man beyond strict product promotional uses to a kind of virtual corporate spokesman, touting the company's corporate virtues. As such, he's lost weight, as he describes how Michelin tires can be recycled for parks and roads so they don't end up in landfills. In the new TV commercial, he installs recycled rubber material in a children's playground to communicate the company's commitment to finding alternative uses for end-of-life tires.

"This campaign is meant to go beyond a focus on product," says Parmeet Grover, brand director for Michelin. "It is about the brand and the promise of the brand." He adds that the message aligns with Michelin's brand identity. "Historically, we have focused very strongly on safety and security. That resounds very strongly with our consumers."

The company's focus on environment also is a strong point of concern for consumers. "We did a lot of research, and what we learned is that, more and more, it's becoming relevant, and the next generation of consumer is looking for both functional benefits, but also the corporate perception they may have: 'Do I trust this brand, is it a brand that does the right thing'."

In print ads, the Michelin Man flexes his muscles, and the TV ad uses computer-generated graphics to show the Michelin Man at work in a shop. The effort, via Detroit-based Campbell-Ewald, runs throughout 2007.

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