Bridgestone America, official tire sponsor of Super Bowl XLIII, will continue the humorous approach to promoting the stopping power of its Bridgestone tires for its Super Bowl ads. The Nashville, Tenn.-based tire company, which advertised during the Super Bowl last year, will run two 30-second TV spots during NBC's broadcast of the game.
The ads -- one of which runs at the end of the first quarter; the other during the third on -- continue the brand tag, "For drivers who want to get the most out of their cars, it's Bridgestone or nothing."
One ad has Hasbro's Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head driving an idyllic mountain road when they encounter a herd of sheep. The second spot has an interplanetary theme, with two space travelers visiting the Saturn moon Titan in a space vehicle that has extraterrestrial Bridgestone tires. Both are via AOR Dallas-based Richards Group.
Last year, Bridgestone's Super Bowl ad had a squirrel wandering into the middle of a road to eat an acorn. Just as the car is about to hit the squirrel all of the animals in the woods scream, as does the woman behind the wheel, but she dodges the squirrel at the last minute, thanks to her Bridgestone tires.
The maker of Bridgestone and Firestone will also be title sponsor of the game's half-time show, which features Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
"When we set out our thoughts on this coming Bowl we really said we needed to look at what makes [Bridgestone] different and unique, but the spots must also showcase the performance of Bridgestone tires," says Phil Pacsi, VP/North American consumer tire marketing.
Michael Fluck, Bridgestone's advertising and Internet manager hinted that the Titan ad includes a "quite well-known" theme song.
Fluck also says the ads won't disappear after the game. "We use the Super Bowl as an opportunity to launch new creative, then they stand on their own and become brand spots." He says the deal with NFL puts the brand in all playoff games. This year, the brand will also have a presence at NFL Experience, an interactive theme park in Tampa, Fla., during Super Bowl week and is sponsor of the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl.
Pacsi says besides sports the company will continue a broad media approach that includes product-focused messages. Bridgestone will launch a new environmental product called Ecopia at the Chicago Auto Show in February, and will introduce other new tires this year.
"The industry took a big hit in 2008," says Pacsi, "But our major brands -- Bridgestone and Firestone -- actually weathered the storm well. The first half we outpaced the industry that was flat, and second half of the year the industry took a downturn and we were flat, so overall for 2008 our major brand share grew slightly and we hope we continue with momentum in 2009."
The company's Bridgestone brand became Official Tire of the NFL in the fall of 2007 giving the company a multi-year integrated marketing opportunity including the Bridgestone International Series, the first-ever regular season NFL game played outside North America. The game was played in late October between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins at London's Wembley Stadium.
As official tire of NHL, and NHL Players Association, the company was title sponsor of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. It is also official tire of the PGA Tour, and the Golf Channel.