Auto service is a tough sell at the best of times. During a recession, car owners postpone all but the most critical repairs, even if it means risking another winter on near-bald tires or ignoring an overdue oil change. Unfortunately, the only time many car owners think of maintenance is when it’s too late, when they are stuck or broken down.
While competitors attempted to scare drivers into their shops, Markham, ON-based Midas Canada needed a different approach. The campaign had to demonstrate that consumers weren’t so much buying a set of tires, as the assurance that they would get where they needed to go on a bad winter day.
After a decade of importing U.S. creative, the first original Canadian television effort also marked the first time Midas had promoted its expert tire service nationally. Without the budget luxury of brand creative, this retail-driven campaign needed to generate talk value to give it a broader trans-media presence than the media plan afforded.
The answer? A car chase. Not just any ordinary car chase, but a distinctly Canadian scene featuring a police cruiser in very, very low-speed pursuit of its suspects. Through TV news-style footage including the prototypical helicopter shot, both vehicles spin their bald tires helplessly in the slush and ice before everybody finally gets out to push. Supported with radio, DM and on-site POP, all elements drove a compelling offer of a free winter maintenance package with the purchase of four tires.
“Chase” remained one of YouTube Canada’s most viewed films throughout the fall and winter of 2008 with over two million views. It also popped up on police and emergency service forums, thanks to the funny factor. As a result, the phones started ringing at Midas dealerships across the country, and dealers were elated with the storm of new calls and bookings. Midas’ tire service revenue grew by 50% over the previous year, and saved Q4 for the brand in a simply horrific category retail environment. If dealers hadn’t run out of tires, it could have been even higher.