We’ve worked with Continental Tyres for more than 20 years, and have devised and executed countless safety-related campaigns on behalf of the German tyre manufacturer during that time.
The individual message was always tailored to the product, the event, the time of year or whatever else was going on, but most campaigns included a line about your tyres being your ‘only connection with the road’.
That was always a pretty powerful image to summon up – the idea that nothing else mattered if your tyres were defective or dangerous, because they were the only thing keeping you in contact with the road. On Irish roads in particular, wet and slippery a lot of the time, contact is everything.
Were drivers getting the message? Did people stop and think about their tyres? Hard to say. There’s a sense, though, that tyres have become the great ‘invisible’ of the motoring world – many people simply don’t see them. Or at least, they don’t see them until something goes wrong, then they get them fixed and carry on not seeing them.
Meanwhile, in the wider world of road safety the focus has switched from seatbelts to speeding to drink driving to drug driving to texting while driving to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and many other factors. Everything got the TV ad treatment, except the only thing keeping you in contact with the road.
That has now changed. As of April this year, there is a fixed charge of €80 plus two penalty points for anyone caught driving on worn or defective tyres. (It was already an offence.)
To raise awareness of the new fixed charge, Ireland's Road Safety Authority has also launched a new TV advertising campaign called ‘Never let go’. When your tyres lose grip, it says, you lose everything. Pretty much what we’ve been saying all along.
This is a huge development for tyre manufacturers like Conti, not to mention other stakeholders including tyre fitters and service providers like Advance Pitstop. In a single stroke, the RSA has given hundreds of thousands of drivers a huge incentive to deploy the primary tool of tyre safety – their own two eyes.
Getting more eyes on tyres is what this is all about. Making tyres visible again; giving them the sort of talkability that other road safety issues already have. It can only be a good thing, a contributor to better road safety and more lives saved.
As we gear up towards a busy summer of driving, that ad campaign and those two penalty points plus that €80 fine should prompt more drivers to cast an appraising eye over their four tyres before they set off. That could make all the difference in the world.
Cullen Communications handles PR for Continental Tyres in Ireland
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