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Michelin UK talks about new international campaign


By The Drum Team | Editorial

March 16, 2010 | 4 min read

Peter Snelling, head of communications for Michelin UK, talks to The Drum about the company's new international campaign which began to roll out in the UK yesterday.

Snelling said it is the first campaign from the tyre brand for a few years and comes as Michelin looks to not only raise awareness of its brand, but also communicate to the customer that through using Michelin tyres they can lower their fuel consumption and therefore lower their fuel expenses.

Snelling said: “This is something completely new to most people and, to the best of my knowledge, no other manufacturer has ever talked about the link between the tyre choice and their fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions as people look more at what miles per gallon they can get."

The full campaign will roll out around the world, with TBWA\New York handling above-the-line creative having won a competition against other divisions of the TBWA network. Leicester marketing agency Rock Kitchen Harris is managing the PR for the campaign in the UK.

“This is part of a long-term programme,” Snelling said. “We’re featuring the fuel saving benefits of the energy saving car in this particular advert, but there will be further adverts coming through later in the year to talk about traditional values such as Michelin being renowned for its longevity.”

Snelling added that the follow up ads would be released after the summertime to highlight tyre safety when the weather is less dry and when “people begin to start thinking more about their tyres” as the rain pours down.

Of course the campaign features the iconic character of the Michelin Man, used in a more traditional way than he has been in the brand’s more recent history, coming to the aid of motorists in distress by pulling out handy spare tyres from his body.

“You can see an advert from over 100 years ago which was exactly the same. It’s a poster where he is taking out the tyre to help a motorist in distress. This is an old idea brought, very much, up-to-date.”

Snelling said the choice of looking back to more traditional methods of using the character is because heritage is "very important" to the Michelin brand.

“Everyone is obviously aware of the brand itself, but it’s always useful to remind people of its longevity. We’ve been around for a long time and with very good reason as we’ve been helping the motorist in the market for many decades and this is an important part of what we’re trying to communicate.”

Despite the world not yet being out of its economic turmoil, Snelling defended the timing of the campaign and said it is promoting exactly the correct message as it looks to sell a more expensive but proven product to ABC1s over the age of 30, “instead of going for something slightly cheaper.”

“We believe that the plan is absolutely right and of the moment while everyone is looking at how much everything costs and looking for value for money because we know that the motorist is very aware of high and rising fuel costs, so we believe that it is absolutely the right time to communicate this major benefit to motorists which perhaps they weren’t aware of.”

As with all international campaigns, above-the-line is no longer the surest way to reach an audience, with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and expert blogs being created to promote the Michelin message and share advice and information directly with consumers.

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