By on April 18, 2013

The Nike Swoosh. The McDonalds Golden Arches. The Chevy Bowtie.

When you see them, you know them. Decades and billions of dollars are dedicated to make a ride on the freeway or, a walk in a park, a frequent subliminal reminder of how worthy a given brand is of your time.

Firestone is just beginning to invest in the icon you see here. What do you think?

The idea behind it is…

“You’re not driving a car, you’re driving a Firestone.”

The slogan has been enunciated, imprinted, and emblazoned on tens of thousands of advertisements over the past year. Print. Online. TV. Cable. Radio. The owners of Firestone are trying to make your used car, a Firestone car.

This is obviously a tall leap when it comes to brand identification; which is why Firestone has such a painfully challenging road for their new ‘F’ icon. For over 100 years cars have been identified by their marque. Mercedes-Benz. Cadillac. Honda. These brands not only exude a high level of awareness in the new car market, but an equally unique and compelling level of prestige in popular culture.

Mercedes symbolizes wealth. Even those who are financially struggling like to pretend they’re rich by owning one. From country clubs to rap videos. Everyone knows a Mercedes.

Cadillac is the king of American luxury. From the 1930’s when a ‘Cadillac’ referred to a gram of cocaine. To the 1960’s where a Cadillac ranch would undoubtedly have a matching Cadillac in the garage.  To even the mansions of today where a lot of folks are still willing to pay for the Cadillac of SUV’s.

Honda symbolizes Japanese engineering and enduring quality. The Honda of minivans in today’s advertising world is a mere continuation of the quality people you met 50 years ago on a Honda Scooter. Honda is quality incarnate thanks to a continuous advertising campaign that has always hammered away at that virtue.

Firestone has been popularized for their tires and their auto repair centers. Billions of tires sold. 10,000+ auto repair centers. A long winning history with NASCAR and a common sight on most rolling commercial roadfronts of the modern day, Firestone is an instantly recognizable name.

However that seems to be part of the problem. For nearly a century you needed to see the whole name to see the Firestone logo.

The full name of yesterday is now given an automotive emblem for today — along with a shift in identification from products and services for a used car, to the car itself.

Can a car wear two badges? Three? Four? If so, how can you put value into products and services that are usually catered to the non-enthusiast?

Is Firestone seeking to gradually usurp the brand identities of used cars? Or are they trying to compliment the brand identity that is already there?

I have no clear understanding of where this road leads to. At the same time, this is likely not the fault of the company or the advertising agency. It takes years of a compelling vision, endless instillations of nuance, and a change in popular culture to make a brand truly iconic.

Can Firestone ever become an iconic brand?   Or were they already there?

 

 

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76 Comments on “Building An Icon...”


  • avatar
    espressoBMW

    The important role of tires is grossly underrated by the general public. I believe that the majority of car owners do not really understand the impact good rubber can make on their vehicles and until they do, a tire company emblem will not mean anything either.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    People FLIP for Firestone!

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I dunno if adding a new badge will grant special status. GM spends millions adding that little chrome badge to identify all its vehicles a few years before it went bankrupt; didn’t seem to help. However, Firestone is in need of rebranding, so rots o’ ruck to them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You mean the GM square that was on the doors or fenders of 2006-2010 cars? The badges themselves probably amounted to under a dollar per vehicle, less if there was already badging to be applied to the doors or fenders—such as with the Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade. I bet you they just added the badges to the price of the car.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Firestone will forever be associated with 721s blowing the tread off themselves in the ’70s and the Ford-Firestone recall debacle of the early 2000s.

    Firestone is owned by Bridgestone, which is a Japanese company. They probably should have killed the Firestone brand after the recall and massive bad publicity.

    • 0 avatar
      Bill Steege

      I actually had that happen to me, not once, but twice, in the 70′s and then again in the early 2000s.

      In both cases I lost a passenger-side rear tire to a tread separation and consequent blowout but I was able to coast to the side of the road to change the tire. In both cases I was less than halfway through the tires’ expected tread wear. The tread just came off the casing before the tire blew.

      But there were other, not so subtle reminders of Firestone’s crap masquerading as a tire, like goose eggs on my front tires, that moved me to replace those OEM Firestone tires prematurely with cheap new ones.

      People often take pot-shots at el-cheapo Mastercraft and Big O tires, but they worked better for me than Factory OEM Firestone tires did. That’s a fact!

      I read a comment somewhere that expressed the writer’s feeling that the worse tires are Firestone. Bridgestone should have shit-canned the Firestone name because even though Bridgestone owns Firestone, the difference in quality and durability between a Bridgestone tire and a Firestone tire is like night and day. Someone was cutting corners at Firestone.

      Hell, Bridgestone should have their Firestone brand tires made by Hankook in China. Those Hankook tires are some tough, long lasting tires and a whole hell of a lot better than whatever Firestone peddles to the general public. And Hankook used to cost less too, before the tariff.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        The company my Dad worked for had a fleet of ’74 Plymouth Furies with those Firestone tires; one of them became my first car. A co-worker had the tread come off, wrap around the rear axle, and lock the wheel tight. I remember the black marks on his fender from the tread flinging around.

        My first bicycle was a Firestone branded bike, bought at the store. But, I think Dad swore Firestone off after the incidents with the company cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Michael500

          The brand sure sucks having a major quality DEBACLE each decade: the “500″ in the ’70s, the 721 unraveling in the 80s and the Explorer tires in the 90s/2000. I think the “F” looks cool, but I only buy tyres from that brand with the blimp (including Dunlop) or that tire guy.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      You forgot the original, as far as I can remember bad Firestone tire, the 500, several of which I saw come into the gas station I worked at smoking hot, and coming apart. Then there was the Wilderness truck/SUV tires that also tended to come apart. Supposedly, only one type of Wilderness tire was bad, but when my truck came with them, I pulled them off immediately. They were supposed to be the most fuel efficient tires made at the time, but I just couldn’t trust a tire that I could, when deflated, take my fingers and push the tread in several inches. I bought Michelin tires that were noisy, but great, they had half the tread left at 50K. I couldn’t give the ‘stones away, and finally put them out for the trash pickers. They were gone in 15 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      Brunsworks

      Indeed. My parents had a Ford Granada with stock 721s, and we were fortunate enough to come out to the garage to four flat tires one Sunday morning.

      Fortunate as opposed to being on the road when it happened, that is.

      “Firestone: Inseparable from America’s roads…if not from your car.”

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “Can Firestone ever become an iconic brand? Or were they already there?”

    You ask the correct question; I think they were at one time but that was long ago. They are more a damaged former American icon than anything else.

    I find it curious that their parent, Bridgestone, would be inclined to pursue this as the Bridgestone brand is their marquee and they have made, deliberately I guess, Firestone their economy or second fiddle brand.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    @Firestorm: Couldn’t agree more. They have never recovered from those incidents, and coupled with their outdated retail stores (many now closed,) the brand should have been killed in favor of Bridgestone. I can’t think of 1 “car guy/girl” that has purchased Firestone tires in years.

    • 0 avatar
      MZ3AUTOXR

      This car guy bought Firestone snow tires for his wife’s minivan

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I guess I’m the exception; I’ve had good luck with Firestone. Last year I put a set of Firehawk all-season tires (still made in Japan BTW) on my Mazda 3. The low price, long warranty, minimal noise, and respectable grip have made me a happy customer. In addition Firestone offers a $100 lifetime alignment deal which is great considering my 3 seems to need alignments as often as it does oil changes.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    When I see the icon for Firestone tires I recall the “500″ radials on my father’s car and the amazing way they self-destructed, the HPR radials that came on my ’81 Plymouth that went bald in 12,000 miles, and of course the ATX/Explorer fiasco.

    Firestone’s problem is not brand recognition, but brand reputation.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Do people really care about tire brand? I dont think so for the most part.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There are LOTS of people that care about the Michelin brand, one way or the other.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      No. Most people hate buying tires and will go for the cheapest crappy Chinese tires that they can find even if they own an expensive vehicle. I’ve talked multiple people at work out of buying “Sunny” and “GT Radial” branded tires.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I just don’t get why people act this way. They are basically the most important part of the drivetrain, brake system and suspension because they are the only thing that touch the road. Crap tires can absolutely destroy a great cars ride, handling braking etc. They can be so unbelievably loud that you think the wheel bearings are about to blow out. Then good tires can transform a crappy car into something fantastic. Good tires aren’t even that much more expensive. Usually browsing Tirerack you can get something decent for $20-30 more a tire than the junk Chinese tire.

    • 0 avatar
      stottpie

      i like michelin and yokohama as brands

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I never really cared for the way Bridgestone, which was a made up name meant to resemble Firestone, eventually defeated Firestone in the market to the point that they were able to acquire the brand. Or maybe union rubber workers took Firestone to that depth, it seems possible. That being said, Bridgestone makes some of the best tires in many segments. A BBC columnist recently said they ruined the 2010 F1 season because their tires were too good. I want the tires too good for F1 on my car, not Pirellis! I think they killed the Firestone name by chasing Ford’s OEM business and should stop throwing good money after bad.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    The value of a marque or brand is earned, slowly and painstakingly, over years.
    It is then based on reputation and esteem in the market place.
    That value has a life of its own.
    Someone once estimated the brand-value of BMW, as represented by the roundel icon, to be about $50B, totaled over its years of existence. It has been rated as the most valued brand in the world.
    That type of esteem is not produced or created by a new symbol or icon overnight.
    Michelin is already “there”, and has been “there” since the 1950′s.
    Firestone has a long, long way to go: Good luck on your recovery and your journey, Firestone.

    ——————-

  • avatar

    In Brazil. Goodyear, Firestone and Pirelli are the most popular brands (followed in volume, I’d guess pretty closely by the supermarket house brands or brandless tires). In that way I don’t know if they’re iconic but they do have name recognition. Yokohama, Hankook, Continental and Michelin are growing though they have a tough time getting people to buy them as they’re more expensive. Oh, there’s also Maxxis or some such (Chinese) that GM shamelessly put on their cars for a while. I know at least 2 people who bought cars from other companies to escape from that, at least part of why.

    FWIW, my experience here is that the last 3 or 4 times I bought tires, I bought Goodyear. I avoid Pirelli and Firestone. I once had an Uno that didn’t align. After many tries the tire was shown to be self destroying but Pirelli basically told me to f.. off. No more money from them.

    My problem with Firestone was of a different order. I always though they lasted too little. It may be a coincidence that I usually had those tires when younger, and now older I use Goodyear that seem to last longer. Even taking that into account, I trust Goodyear more and only buy them as they seem to offer the best package of qualities for me. BTW, I’m one of those who avoids Michelin, Yokohama et al as they’re too expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I have a set of Brazilian-made Continentals(EC-DWS) on one of my cars. They’re top rated in their class and priced right in the middle of the range of competitive tires. They were much less expensive than the OEM Michelins(now heavily discounted), but quite a bit more than Fusions, Kumhos, or Sumitomos. It seems odd that Continental builds them there but sells them for bargain prices here. Expensive Hankooks? That’s just odd. If they’ve learned to make good tires, they’ve done it in the past 6 years.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey CJ!

        Hankooks only started coming with Korean cars that have really only had an impact in the market over the last 5 yrs. I guess some of the good perception Brazilians have of Hyundai-Kia has rubbed off on them and they use it. I don’t really know, but I’d also guess they don’t have a factory here so that would mean they are imported and thusly have to face import tariffs. In Brazil imported usually means better than domestic, at least that’s the general perception (and of course, not always right).

        Contis when they came to Brazil also used that same tactic. They always tried to associate their image with high end German cars. I didn’t know they had a factory in Brazil, but that would explain why I have noticed that their tires are getting cheaper. Also, just recently they have started offering smaller tires that outfit most Brazilian cars (13′ and 14′). Maybe I’ll give them a look the next time I buy tires (which is going to be soon for the wife’s car), but to me Conti=expensive. Goes to show how important perception is, huh?

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          In 2005-2006 a bunch of my customers were receiving their new Ford F150s with Hankook OEM tires. Some of them weren’t round and some of them required more weight to balance than is allowed by most reasonable guidelines. Generally, that isn’t synonymous with quality. OTOH, they were on new Fords. Ford hammers suppliers on price to the point that they’d be smart to leave their names off the tires. See Firestone. I also had a customer that had discs of rubber falling out of the sidewalls(not just one tire) of the Goodyears on her new Focus. It was the most bizarre flaw I’ve seen in any tire. Neither company wanted to do anything for her.

          Goodyears used to arrive shaved to correct out-of-round conditions. I don’t recommend them. Some people don’t understand the difference between quality and performance when it comes to tires. Working around them will change that. Goodyear’s GS-D3 was a superb performer in its day, but needing to order extras so you could send back the ones that wouldn’t balance or had been ‘fixed’ before shipping reveals the quality side. Many Michelin ‘touring’ tires have all the grip on dry pavement possessed by a rolled up newspaper, but they are almost perfect in their construction and routinely require the least weight to balance.

          • 0 avatar

            In all honesty when I buy tires I’m looking for good price, hassle free ownership and longevity. I have no doubt a Conti or Yokohama would perform better, but Goodyear has served me well so far. In a couple a years, after my life is back on track, performance will be more important, for now I think Goodyear is good enough.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            When the original Bridgestones on my LGT went bald after only 12,000 miles, I took C/D’s advice and replaced them with Hankook EVO V12 Ventus tires. They were great, especially in the wet. Two years later, they also wore out at about 12,000 miles. For the first time in 40 years, I bought the same tires again. The technician at the Chrysler dealer where I got them this time and who did a road force balance, said one required no balance weight at all, one needed one, the other two needed two weights. Highly unusual, he said. Car feels almost balletic compared to the old ones – they are Z-rated. I think they have improved in manufacture in the last two years. Can’t speak for regular cooking Hankooks.

            I only ever get 25 to 40% of the tire life claimed due to my propensity for cornering hard. Been that way since 1976 on Pirellis, Contis, Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone, Firestone and now Hankook. Cars have been Audis or Subaru. Never had any cupping or weird wear, just flat across the tread. All just wear out quickly, treadwear rating notwithstanding.

            I have much better luck with winter tires. Goodyears lasted 9 winters on my Impreza, and six years so far on Toyos on the LGT, so 3 times the summer tires, because you have to slow right down on them what with squishy tread.

            Anyway, I love my EVO Hankooks. YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            @wmba, you need some better snow tires! It’s Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 for me, and they handle great even on dry pavement (which is what we have for most of the winter, after all).

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          @th009

          Probably will try some Michelin ice-tires next time. The Toyos I got in a package with alloys at the Subie dealer. The walnut shells are gone, I’m sure, and there is about 8mm tread left, so they handle not so badly on dry roads, ice not so much – I have been amazed at tremendous right rear wheel spin on my AWD car starting off. Not supposed to happen really, and so surprising when the rear steps out to the right from a stop. Where’s my LSD and electronic nannies?

          Anyway, as a retiree I now wait for mostly clear roads just because I can most of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            @wmba, if your area experiences a lot of icy roads, the Pilot Alpin may not be the best option as it’s not really designed for ice, but rather combination of dry roads and snow. But it’s the best-handling snow tire I have ever had.

            My wife’s car has Conti ExtremeWinterContact (Conti’s marketing department appears to have a broken space bar on their computer) which is quite good as well, and less expensive — and available in less aggressive sizes. Again, not an ice tire, though.

          • 0 avatar
            TEXN3

            The X-Ice really does amazing in icey conditions, which is a big issue in Idaho.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            X-Ice is a very different tire from the Pilot Alpin. And probably a much better choice if you’re having to deal with ice rather than snow.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Do ya”ll have BFGoodrich?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    The Bottlerockets.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I thought the Apple icon had exceeded the roundel in specific brand equity. That neither deserve our respect is beside the point. Seriously, what audiophile listens to mp3 files? Or over-pays by 50% for the cachet of the propeller? I used to give BMW a pass based on my limited experiences with two 320′s in the early 1980′s. Then I purchased a mint 840. I should have taken $10,000 and burned it in the fireplace – at least I would have had the heat.

    • 0 avatar
      stottpie

      properly encoded (variable bit rate v0) audio is 100% indistinguishable from lossless sound. i’m not saying apple sells that or doesn’t, but there is nothing wrong with mp3.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I have a *very* hard time believing that any lossy compression scheme is “100% indistinguishable” from lossless sound. Maybe 99% (maybe, but I doubt that as well), but certainly not 100%.

        • 0 avatar
          stottpie

          well i’m definitely not saying “any lossy compression scheme” to be sure. i know the original itunes format was only 128kbps (constant rate), so yes, that’s bad.

          but high quality MP3 compression schemes like V0 have been proven time and again to be indistinguishable through blind testing.

          i buy the argument for vinyl (analog) over digital, i buy the argument for vacuum tubes over solid state, but when we’re talking about lossless digital vs. very well compressed digital, there is no audible difference to any human being’s ears.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Sorry, but I disagree. First off, any such test is highly dependent upon the entire playback chain and there are an awful lot of variables therein. All that is “proven” is that a given group of listeners listening to a small subset of music on a particular set of systems were unable to hear a difference. As a long-time audiophile, some-time recording engineer and long-time speaker designer, I *know* that there are way too many variables to make such a claim with conviction.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Analog (vinyl) is *different* than digital; it distorts where digital doesn’t.

            Some people prefer that “warm” distortion. But it’s still *distortion*.

            (Agreed on good compression vs. lossless; when pro musicians and audiophiles can’t tell in an ABX test, we can say with comfort there’s “no difference” in meaningful context.)

            Semi-contra bunkie, when the ABX tests *consistently* show that nobody can tell the difference reliably, we eventually have to just give up and say “no difference”.

            It’d be simple enough to disprove: Find the person that can consistently tell the difference when someone else is picking the source and it’s a blind test.

            That person hasn’t yet been found, to the best of my knowledge.

            [And even if he was, if it\'s one person out of a hundred million that can tell? We can still call that \"no difference\" for every practical purpose.])

          • 0 avatar
            stottpie

            like Sigivald stated, there has never been anyone who could reliably tell the difference between well compressed MP3 and lossless file formats.

            there will always be audiophile pretension, and tons of blind tests have PROVEN that you cannot hear the difference you think you can hear. it’s the placebo effect, and the blind test takes that out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            @ bunkie

            100% agree with you. I ran a speaker company in the 70s and 80s, and have designed both tube and transistor preamps and poweramps.

            MP3 is Dolby Digital, not particularly wonderful, but good enough for the average listener listening on rubbish equipment, which is most. My best pal owns a real hi-fi store and of course has to sell the normal stuff. But put on some Moon amplification and some JM Lab Utopias, and the portable h/p mp3 crowd get astonished.

            I gave up arguing with the “you can’t hear the difference” crowd decades ago. A Versa will get you from A to B, and of course feels no different from a Mercedes S class. Yeah, sure.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I had friends in New York that spent obscene amounts on hi-fi equipment. Then they listened to boot-leg live recordings of punk bands. They used to be angry when the party was at my house and people would get excited about my Kenwood/Sony/Infinity-SM stereo, primarily because it displayed CD titles(this was twenty years ago) and it played LOUD and clean. Considering what they were playing, I don’t feel so bad for not appreciating the thousands of dollars a month they were spending on gear.

            A couple years later, I heard a piano music CD played on a Carver with tube DA converters and a good high current amp connected to NHT speakers. It snapped me right back to the last time I’d heard live piano music, and suddenly I understood. Playing the opening champagne cork pop on Dinosaur Jr’s “I Feel the Pain,” my mouth was watering for champagne. There is a difference, and I can tell when I’m not listening to MP3s over some home theater system with a built in EQ smile curve. Not everyone cares, but I’d love to have another great stereo some day. I’m not even sure they still exist unless you can spend car money.

          • 0 avatar
            stottpie

            @wmba: you’ve never conducted a blind test, therefore you can’t say you can hear the difference.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    i really don’t look at it in terms of what the brand means, but rather how recognizable it is.

    for what it’s worth, i did immediately recognize that F as the firestone F. then again, i like to notice typefaces and stuff in logos.

    i don’t associate bmw with quality or performance, i associate it with 30-something middle-management douchebags, because that’s what i’ve more often than not been impressed with. i don’t associate honda with quality, instead i associate it with a company that lost its balls and subsequently became another corolla manufacturer.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Firestone = Explorer tire failure debacle when it comes to their product.

    Firestone = Predatory, underhanded sales tactics when it comes to their service (centers).

    While I saw the “F” logo and immediately understood it to represent Firestone, my mind immediately landed on another “F” word, and as a branding exercise, sums up the company very succinctly, though in not very flattering terms.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Unlike a lot of other big companies, Firestone really stood up for their retirees when they sold out to Bridgestone. We should all be so lucky to have the excellent free supplemental health insurance that Firetone retirees – both union and non union have.
    It is very refreshing to see that the workers receieved some benefit from the sale to Bridgestone. If they were taken over by a private equity firm, the employees would have been short changed.

    • 0 avatar
      mountainman_66

      absolutely. I live about 3 blocks from the Firestone/Bridgestone campus in akron. my grandmother received a (reduced) pension after my grandfathers death in 1972…….1988 Bridgestone assumes control of Firestone and continued to honor the pension she received and her health care….up to and including her final ride in an ambulance. Bridgestone, despite moving a lot of assets to Nashville, has not been entirely bad for Akron or its legacy Firestone retirees.

  • avatar
    Skink

    Had their 500s, then their 721s, and patronized their crummy stores until I noticed a theme. So,

    New Firestone ad campaign. Guy walks into the Firestone store and happily hollers, “F me!” Walks out to his car with the Firestone service writer, points to his car: “F this!”. Screen flips; the guy comes to pick up the car; “Did you F it?” Firestone guy: “Bigtime!” Toothy smiles and handshakes.

    (Big F symbol fills the screen).

    VOICEOVER: Firestone. Let us F you.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Firestone, huh? At first glance, “Ferrari” came to mind!

    People care about tires as to price and longevity, not necessarily about the brand. To me “Goodyear” says more.

    “Bridgestone” is a name that reminds me of those American-sounding names on Chinese-made stuff you see at Harbor Freight.

    So, for that matter, “Firestone” as a company, really doesn’t exist, kind of like me trying to buy a new Zenith TV…

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I thought it was for Ferrari, too. What a letdown.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Interesting.

      Because Ferrari has *never* used a logo that looked anything like that, nor a letter “F” logo, nor does their typeface look anything like the Firestone’s blackletter.

      Ferrari also uses yellow, not red.

      Maybe it’s my design background, but I’m baffled as to how anyone could see that logo and think “Ferrari”.

      (And yet, given your post, and gslippy’s, plainly people do!

      Interesting, like I said…)

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        The shape of the shield maybe, although Ferrari’s has a point at the top if I remember correctly.

        One time where Ferrari used an F was with an S for Scuderia Ferrari, but it still had the prancing horse.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I’m mystified as to how anyone over a certain age could even possibly think anything but Firestone when they see that style of red “F”.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Yeah, it’s a cool logo….but a cool logo does not a company make (although it helps!). When I think of Firestone, I think of two things: Wide Ovals and flipping Ford Explorers. The former is cool but relates to what someone already posted about a once great brand that has been decimated by poor quality over the last few decades. Which leads to the latter point.

    I dunno….they have a long road to travel…

  • avatar
    Mykl

    Screw Firestone.

    Every other time I get something done at one of these shops I come home with damage to something on my car. In three visits they’ve damaged three wheels, and on another visit they failed to properly fasten the air filter box cover (why they looked at the air filter when I told them I was only going to pay for new tires is anyone’s guess), causing me to spend about 30 minutes poking around trying to figure out exactly what was making the awful rattling noise under the hood.

    The only reason I went to one is because I can walk to work after dropping my car off. If they can’t change tires without scratching up wheels or refasten the air box what life threatening screw up is going to occur if I let them touch my brakes or suspension?

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    The logo is good. It works, it references the historical version nicely, it looks good.

    It’d be fine for rebranding their stores and tires.

    The problem is that the *branding* they evidently want for “make your car a Firestone” doesn’t make any *sense*.

    Unless they can convince people that they provide *incredibly* superior service such that anyone should care about Firestone vs. Joe Indie for service, or Firestone vs. Other Retailer for tires…

    I am not sanguine on their prospects in that battle.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    When I buy tires, I read the reviews on Tire Rack and base purchases for our 2 cars on those reviews.

    I don’t recall Firestone branded tires being well reviewed, but interestingly, BFG’s for our Volvo and rate well.

  • avatar
    Preludacris

    Let’s talk logo implementation for a minute.

    What they’ve created here is a badge-looking logo that cannot possibly be displayed in its truest form on a tire, because it has gradients. It looks shiny, three dimensional. When you stamp graphics into a tire they are simplified – a relief in the rubber. Or, at most, white lettering, but that’s not in style. Their logo cannot be displayed on their product, unless they have some new technology up their sleeve.

    What they should have created is a distinctive wordmark that holds up well to a one-color treatment. Like Falken, Pirelli, Yokahoma, Michelin, Goodyear, Maxxis. Oh wait, they had one already…

    The allure of shiny graphics is strong, but should be resisted

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      I believe the word mark lives on as a tire application. The “F” will brand the service centers. In essence, Firestone is two different entities: tire products and auto repair centers. Their branding is attempting to separate yet do double duty name recognition. Tough assignment. Something Michelin, Pirelli et al don’t have to attempt.

  • avatar
    Skink

    Is there a press release to go with this story?

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    I haven’t heard a single instance of Firestone trying to build a ‘brand image’ in the last year. So I don’t know what Steve Lang is talking about.

    Back in the OLD DAYS, they seemed to want to hook up with the Indy 500. Wide Oval / 500, &c. Like AJ Foyt. He was a Firestone guy.

    Anyone can put out their own list of ‘most valuable brands’ — and instead of value, they often try to rank by other criteria.

    Any list that doesn’t include Marlboro is suspect (to me).

    It’s a half century late to do anything with Firestone.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Well, Firestone wanted “Firestone: like a rock. On fire.” but Chevy complained.

    Supposedly, Bridgestone was chosen for the company’s English name because the founder’s name in Japanese was “stone bridge” and Bridgestone was similar to a brand already familiar all over the world.

    I think Bridgestone acquired Firestone because it wanted to establish a major presence in the US. The deal included the thousands of stores. As for Firestone, it found Bridgestone a better suitor than Pirelli.

    Somehow I recall seeing a comment by Consumer Reports that in recent years Firestone tires have generally tested well. And I’ve purchased several sets of Firestones lately and they’ve all been fine. I suspect Bridgestone made a commitment to improve Firestone tires and thereby regain a good reputation. It’s hard to get customers into a Firestone store and be upsold to top-of-the-line Bridgestones if Firestone scares them away. I know I feel better about B F Goodrich tires because Michelin makes them.

    The “F” logo is fine, but I would have stuck with Firestone’s original format. Of course, I love automotive history. Maybe someday Ford and Firestone would get back together again. Ol’ Henry and Harvey were good pals, and later a Ford would marry a Firestone.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The story I heard was that Bridgestone was chosen to sound like Firestone in part due to Firestone being the company sent over to help them get their business back in order after we dropped the bomb on them. The people in charge were very impressed with the Firestone way or at least the people Firestone sent over and chose the name to honor the Company and;or individuals that taught them.

      As far as Bridgestone improving products under the Firestone brand I don’t see any evidence, if anything it has hurt them as the Firestone tires just like their upmarket Bridgestone brand tend to flat spot when left parked for more than a few hours and a large percentage of both come out of round from the factory and the ones that start out round about 50% of them are not round by the time their tread is 50% gone.

  • avatar
    RHD

    When your product is being assessed, the last thing you want to see is a big, red “F”.

    Seriously, though, the best way to “build an icon” would be to manufacture and market top quality tires at a reasonable price, and take good care of the customers. In the long run, customer satisfaction and loyalty will pay off much better than a quickie ad campaign.


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