Yokohoma recognizes workers who go ‘the extra mile’

The tire brand hadn't planned to produce new creative this year. That changed when it got an idea to honour people who are on the road delivering essential services.
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Yokohama Tire Canada is rolling out “The Extra Mile,” a campaign by the tire brand to recognize efforts made by frontline workers who are still on the road.

With millions in isolation, many people are still behind the wheel delivering essential services and products across the country. For the next 10 weeks, Yokohama will be asking its social community to nominate frontline workers or someone using their vehicle to drive COVID-19 relief efforts. Each week, the brand will recognize a frontline hero with a new set of tires and highlight their individual commitment through digital content.

Led by the brand’s creative AOR, We Are Social, “The Extra Mile” is being supported by a one-minute launch film, which shows streets devoid of cars – save for vehicles driven by delivery personnel, medical staff and first responders.

According to Diana Colosimo, brand development manager at Yokohama Tire Canada, in Quebec, where winter tires are mandatory, the province recently eased restrictions on mechanics, who were mandated to only change tires for vehicles deemed essential in the crisis.

The regulatory changes gave the brand and agency partner the idea to link this to “passionate people out there going to work and helping people,” a clear tie to Yokohama’s tagline, “passionate performers,” which recognizes those who show extreme dedication to their craft.

Colosimo tells strategy the brand’s Langley and Brampton warehouses are open and still running, and it is still offering its annual spring seasonal rebates, which the challenger brand offers to compete with larger rivals like Bridgestone and Michelin. But Yokohama Canada is not hard-selling products through this or any other campaign – even though it has the company in-market more than it had initially planned.

“It was funny, it was like we were clairvoyant, we didn’t do any production for creative this year,” Colosimo says, and the only thing it had planned to do was create more B2B engagement with “cheap and cheerful” product videos in which experts explain consumer products.

To create “The Extra Mile,” she says the brand borrowed whatever footage was available. A selection of influential driving ambassadors, hand-picked to be part of the campaign and shared through “dark” channels that can’t be tracked by marketers – such as links copied to chat platforms like WhatsApp – to engage audiences through a more authentic-feeling means.

Colosimo says the company wanted to honour first responders and is not paying for posts, or for any kind of campaign. “It is all organic and reaching out to our dealer networks, employees, end users and consumer networks,” she says.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Yokohama had been getting into more grassroots campaigns in Canada, particularly ones related to sports. It was involved with rink board ads for minor and professional hockey before COVID-19 put a stop to those OOH efforts. As part of the brand’s global sponsorship of English football juggernaut Chelsea FC, Yokohama was sponsoring 500 soccer teams across Canada and doing jersey giveaways.