Media Magic & Old Hat

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Carol Hochu, President & CEO, Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). Photo Carol Hochu

Increasing awareness regarding tire inflation and maintenance.

Finally, the first day of summer arrived at 5:14 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 21. Summer conjures up an excess of imagery… sun, sand, surf, shorts and, of course, a road trip.

But with rising fuel prices, will summer road trips soar or sink? TRAC commissioned a nationwide public opinion survey asking this very question.

As it turned out, 66% of drivers said fuel prices would force them to cancel or limit road trips this summer. The survey also revealed a significant disconnect between drivers’ understanding that proper tire inflation improves fuel economy and protects the environment, and their actual knowledge about when and how to measure and set the correct tire pressure. The survey said that:

  • Only 27% of drivers check their tire inflation pressures monthly
  • 59% are unaware inflation pressures should only be measured when tires are cold
  • 34% refer to the air pressure stamped on the tire’s sidewall when identifying the correct pressure for their tires
  • 14% either rely on visual inspections or do not know how to determine if their tires are inflated properly

You can find detailed survey results here.

The lack of drivers’ knowledge when it comes tire inflation and maintenance is old hat. Perhaps checking tire pressure—which one can learn to do in about 60 seconds right here—is one of those skills that are so simple one never fully commits them to memory and done haphazardly is good enough. So, our campaign goal was twofold: First, increase awareness about proper tire inflation and tire maintenance serving as a road safety measure; and second, educate about relationship of tire inflation and maintenance with fuel economy.

Timing is everything

And as the sage adage goes “timing is everything.” With multiple heartbreaking gas price increases resetting the clock on our message, the media interest saw our story pass through several news cycles for a long, long time. The campaign generated close to 900 media hits including TV appearances, online and print articles, radio interviews, and blog posts, and received attention from all major local and national news outlets, including Canadian Press, CBC, CBC Radio, City TV, CP24, and CityNews. Results indicate that our message had the potential to reach all Canadians 14 times over. I don’t think even the largest corporations would scoff at such campaign results. However, as Canadians we are genetically predisposed to value modesty, and as a proud Canadian I choose to downplay these results with a golf world maxim: “The more I practice the luckier I get,” and TRAC sure has been lucky this year.

And further, as my affinity for quotes remains endless and everlasting, someone once said, “Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”  TRAC received its fill of summer magic early this year, and I wish you a summer just as joyful and magical.

Carol Hochu is President of the Tire & Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). You can reach her at [email protected].


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