Bridgestone getting in tune with sponsorship of Springsteen's Super Bowl halftime show

Jan. 1, 2020
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be the halftime headliner at this season's Super Bowl. Officially known as the "Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show," the sponsor's tire lines are likely to glean considerable worldwide publicity as
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Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be the halftime headliner at this season’s Super Bowl. Officially known as the “Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show,” the sponsor’s tire lines are likely to glean considerable worldwide publicity as each year’s mid-game extravaganza is widely acknowledged as the world’s most-watched musical performance.

Springsteen’s ongoing popularity can certainly strike a chord among tire dealers interested in creating promotional campaigns coinciding with the concert.

The Feb. 1, 2009, program on NBC will be broadcast into more than 230 nations and territories. Last year’s Super Bowl attracted 148 million-plus viewers in the U.S. alone.

Recent halftime acts have consisted of the Rolling Stones, U2, Paul McCartney, Prince and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

“The Boss” remains tremendously in tune with the public; this past weekend Springsteen concluded a triumphant 100-show tour in Milwaukee with a 31-song set at Harley-Davidson’s 105th anniversary celebration.

Kicking-off with “Gypsy Biker,” the concert featured an E Street rendition of the Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs’ hit “Wooly Bully” before closing the gig – and the tour – with a version of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild.”

While Springsteen is known for energetic marathon performances sometimes lasting up to four hours, obviously the halftime appearance in Tampa will considerably shorter. Yet however brief the set might be, Bridgestone and its dealers are poised to gain a lot of mileage out of the event’s mass appeal.

Designated as the NFL’s official tire, in 2007 the company signed a three-year deal to present the Super Bowl’s halftime entertainment. Bridgestone is also the official tire of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, the World Golf Championships and the Golf Channel.

Phil Pacsi, vice president of consumer tire marketing for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, is the subject of a September profile in the marketing publication Brandweek. Topped by a headline reading “The Firebrand Behind the Tire Brand,” Pacsi told the magazine’s Barry Janoff that when reviewing possible sponsorship options they sought “something that was different and unique for the Bridgestone brand, and (we) also looked at our core customers, most of them were sports enthusiasts of the NFL, the NHL and golf.”

He went on to note how “it’s too early to tell the full impact we have had (with the NFL and NHL arrangements), but we have had tremendous response with redemption programs we did with the NFL and we did see an uptick in sales after we sent e-mails to NFL fans. I would say that the gauge has moved favorably for us and for our partners.”

The story quotes Terry Lefton, editor-at-large for the SportsBusiness Journal: “Among tire brands they’ve certainly raised exclusivity and given a large and vital dealer network a reason to showcase their product. They’ve definitely raised, and are raising, their profile.”

Last year’s Super Bowl pitting the previously undefeated New England Patriots vs. the New York Giants was a rousing success in the tire marketing arena, according to Pacsi, who reflected about how “we couldn’t have planned it better” regarding the unexpected sports drama instigated by the Pats’ quest for a perfect season. (The Giants proved victorious, however.)

Janoff’s reporting describes the 48-year-old Pacsi as spending half his life with the company, mostly in engineering functions. He became a “marketing specialist” in 1994, moving into Bridgestone’s senior marketing position in 2006.

Springsteen, who celebrated his 59th birthday Sept. 23, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. His Born in the U.S.A. album has sold 15 million copies, making it the all-time best seller for Columbia Records.

Accompanied by the E Street Band, Springsteen’s earlier efforts included 1973’s The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, which included “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” Born to Run, with “Thunder Road.” “Backstreets” and “Jungleland,” propelled him further into the American musical landscape. In a most unusual turn of events, in a single week in 1975 Springsteen was simultaneously featured on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.

He has continued to tour and release numerous other musical projects to critical acclaim and healthy sales figures.

Bridgestone can be accessed at www.bfusa.com.

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