Uniroyal® tires is a Michelin® brand but falls under that parent umbrella alongside not only the premium Michelin tire product but also the well-known performance tire brand BFGoodrich®. Both Michelin and BFGoodrich (BFG) are widely-known brands with many years of investment in marketing efforts to not only tire dealers but also to consumers. Uniroyal, on the other hand, has very limited resources in terms of both budget and corporate staffing support. There are very few consumer-focused efforts, as the lesser-known brand uses primarily the dealer distribution network to educate and sell product to the end-user.
The goal of this particular event activation was to improve Uniroyal brand awareness and affinity among a captive audience of dealers at a Michelin corporate “day at the track” that was part of a larger conference. Dealers are accustomed to seeing big activations from Michelin and BFG at these events, but not Uniroyal. So, we wanted to make a splash, as we were announcing the biggest launch in brand history and introducing what would be our broadest product line ever – Tiger Paw ® Touring All-Season.
Dealers carry and sell a variety of brands to fit the needs of their customers, and are looking for a valuable product that they can be confident selling. Also, they desire a product line that covers a wide range of fitments for various cars & trucks on the road. This new line was designed to make it easier for dealers to stock and sell to their customers because it offers fitments from 14” to 22” rims, covering an estimated 80% of the cars, CUVs and SUVs on the road in America today.
The desired outcome of this activation was for dealers to appreciate the Michelin corporate focus on re-energizing the 125+ year-old Uniroyal brand, learn more about the newest and broadest product offering in the line, and be reminded to stock and sell this very reputable, high-quality product – as it offers reliability and affordability to customers and more profitability potential to dealers.
Time to plan & execute this activation was limited (about 6 weeks and less than $50k) so we tried to keep it simple and our primary strategy was to demonstrate that we understand the dealer’s point of view – what he/she needs to satisfy their customer tire needs, how they like to engage with both tire manufacturers and their end-users, operational pain points, etc. A parallel strategy was to draw dealers into the activation by offering an appealing “recharging” space for them to retreat to during a long day at the track.
This project benefited from insights that we had gleaned from previous conversations with dealers about things they need and want from tire manufacturers. We know they appreciate partnering with brands that sell full lines so they can take advantage of volume discounts offered by Michelin, so this was an opportunity to educate them about the biggest and broadest product line evolution in Uniroyal history with the Tiger Paw® Touring All Season. The improved line offers sizes to fit almost everything between a Mitsubishi Mirage and a Cadillac Escalade, so both vehicles were featured with our tires as one component of the activation. Interactive elements were also incorporated to bring a modern spin to what can be considered by some dealers to be an old, tired brand.
Multiple stakeholders on both the agency and client sides were required to execute what was concepted due to short timelines. Since this was a physical activation, at a pre-planned dealer conference, we didn’t have to create/distribute/manage any event invitations or pre-event communications. Our efforts were wholly-focused on designing all branded components of the activation, from the big signage to the smallest details like Uniroyal-branded water bottle labels and napkins in the recharging area.
The conference was several days long, but this activation was only on one day when the dealers got to break away from the boring hotel meeting rooms and spend a day at the track, learning about what new products, technology and promotions would be coming soon from Michelin, BFG and Uniroyal. This is an annual conference so the dealers are used to seeing big, splashy exhibits from the larger-budgeted Michelin and BFG, but never has Uniroyal had a significant presence; we had to wow them.
We coordinated with the event rental company and Michelin event marketing partner to select all materials from flooring to décor. And our team was on-site for set-up the day before the event, and for the duration of the activation day, engaging with dealers as they came through.
Since Michelin and BFG offer “sexier” tires on more exciting vehicles, there were driving experiences going on there as well. Since Uniroyal is the tire for the everyday driver – less sizzle – we focused on showcasing the reinvestment in the consistency, attractiveness and professionalism of Uniroyal’s new brand.
The activation was designed to look like a dealer showroom, to make the dealer feel comfortable in an environment of their own, but magnify all things Uniroyal in the space. We featured traditional types of in-store graphics they are used to, i.e. branded tire stack covers, but also introduced some new, more engaging promotional pieces, like a die-cut Royal tire stack topper. The dealers were asking on-site to take these materials back to their stores, so we’re now making those available for them to order for point of purchase display.
Uniroyal branded banners and red tiger-striped paw print floor graphics welcomed dealers into our tented space, and in addition to the real-life demonstration that the Tiger Paw Touring A/S line has fitments for everything from a Mitsubishi Mirage to a Cadillac Escalade, each of the product lines within the Tiger Paw family was showcased on a tire stand wrapped in educational branded graphics. Interactive tablets beside each car allowed dealers to browse product details, see size charts, etc.
The Tiger Paw product line was featured throughout, and the much-loved tiger mascot – Royal – played a prominent role in graphics. This mascot was redesigned for the modern era and introduced along with the Tiger Paw® Touring All Season product launch in 2019 – and dealers have quickly fallen in love with him. In the recharging station of this activation, we chose to preview the work-in-progress of three new sketches of Royal that will be introduced in marketing in 2020, giving them an inside scoop on what the brand is doing next.
Our space was the most popular of the day also due to the fact that we purposely added a “waiting room” to this deader showroom to allow our guests to enjoy soft seating, outlets and chargers for their phones and other devices, and just a cold bottle of (Uniroyal-branded) water to cool off from the New Orleans heat. They appreciated the opportunity to break from their long day, and we got the chance to interact with them longer than a pass-through/walk-by type of exhibit.
The feedback from the dealers exceeded expectations. The Uniroyal space quickly became the “must see” thing at the track, among several larger brand experiences. An online dealer survey was conducted on-site to measure reaction to what has been done to reenergize the Uniroyal brand. To incentivize participation, completed surveys automatically entered dealers into a contest to win a mechanic’s cart for their own shop.