Goodyear retains Sharpe

Goodyear Canada may have a new ad agency, but the retailer is sticking with the same spokesman who has helped burnish the company's image over the past three years.Thom Sharpe, whose down-home performances that started with telling consumers that Goodyear was...

Goodyear Canada may have a new ad agency, but the retailer is sticking with the same spokesman who has helped burnish the company’s image over the past three years.

Thom Sharpe, whose down-home performances that started with telling consumers that Goodyear was more than a tire company, is back again, but on radio and in newspapers.

Price

This time, his message is that Goodyear tires are competitively priced.

The theme, covering an extensive 60-second radio and newspaper campaign, is: ‘Goodyear Expensive? Get over it.’

Ian McIntosh, Goodyear general manager consumer marketing, says the company has been perceived as a ‘quality brand with a solid image over the past decade.’

McIntosh says Thom Sharpe ‘reinforced that. The recall and image scores that he helped us achieve have reaffirmed all of those inherent strengths in the Goodyear brand.

‘But, we wanted to guard against allowing those image and quality aspects from translating into an impression of `too expensive,’ ‘ he says.

‘Especially in a market that is becoming more and more a commodity market.’

So Goodyear is staying with Sharpe, and is using him much the same way as in the past, which means having him confront the issue head-on.

In this case, he lets people know in direct terms that Goodyear’s tires do not cost more than the competition.

‘Folks, we have a situation here,’ Sharpe opens in one of the radio spots. ‘And you know I’m not one to shy away from a situation. Sure, I may shy away from monkeys in dresses and certain kinds of cheese, but never mind that now.

‘Get over it’

‘I understand some of you think Goodyear tires are, for Pete’s sake, expensive,’ he says. ‘Well I’m here to say, get over it.’

The commercials were written by Joan McArthur, who started the Sharpe campaign at McCann-Erickson Advertising and is now working as an associate of Goodyear’s new agency Due North Communications.

McIntosh describes the campaign as a ‘proactive opportunity’ to capitalize on Sharpe’s likability, while heading off potential damage that this profile may have in creating an impression of high price.

He says radio was selected in part because Goodyear could quickly get to air with the message, but also because Sharpe’s voice is so recognizable now that it alone has recognition and impact.

McIntosh also points to the flexibility of radio. There is a radio and print campaign-in-waiting that can be shipped electronically to cities across Canada for airing and publication the day after a snowfall to remind consumers that Goodyear tires, which ‘snear at slush’ and ‘scoff at snow,’ are fairly priced as well.

Meanwhile, Goodyear has announced a decentralizing of its sales and marketing functions, from head office to regional offices.

The move, effective Oct. 1, is intended to make the company more responsive to Canada’s regional markets. About 100 of Goodyear’s 250 head office workers will be affected.