VIDEO: Bridgestone Kicks Off Super Bowl Campaign at Today’s NHL Winter Classic


Bridgestone’s 2011 Super Bowl commercial (remember the beaver?) was one of the most-watched car ads of the year. Now it’s kicking off its 2012 Super Bowl campaign (where it’s sponsoring the half-time show again) by launching it with a teaser spot to hockey fans during the Bridgestone Winter Classic on NBC at 3pm ET today.

The campaign, called “Time to Perform,” kicks off with a commercial (above) featuring a mock press conference and sports reporters such as Dick Vitale, ESPN’s longtime college basketball analyst. The teaser’s concept: “The engineers at Bridgestone are about to make a very important announcement: they’re going to take their vast knowledge of performance on the road and bring it to the playing fields of the world; a bold move that promises to revolutionize sports as we know it.” The bold move — recycling tires into balls (and, in a nod to the brand’s NHL sponsorship deal, hockey pucks).[more]

The tongue-in-cheek campaign, running through January and wrapping up at Super Bowl XLVI, will give away a few limited-edition Bridgestone Performance Balls and Pucks throughout January. The campaign is being extended with digital vignettes (below) that feature Vitale and rival sportscasters Michelle Beadle, Mike Milbury and Barry Melrose competing over who will get the story behind Bridgestone’s big announcement. An added Super Bowl incentive to engage sports fans on the brand’s Facebook page: a sweepstakes with the grand prize of a trip for two to the Super Bowl.

While Ford was slammed by the White House, no less, for using a mock press conference in advertising, Bridgestone VP of marketing Phil Pacsi tells Forbes they’re using the concept to create suspense as the campaign unfolds, taking the unusual path of launching it to hockey fans and winding up at the Super Bowl in a nod to both sports and their fans. While the kick-off starts with the NHL, the NFL can’t be ignored for one simple reason: “NFL fans drive a billion miles a year,” Pacsi notes.