Continental and General Tires

Sure most clients love when you have experience in their category, so after we parted ways with Hankook Tires,  partnering with Continental was a pretty natural transition. They hadn’t previously worked with an agency and like Hankook had similar challenges regarding brand recognition.

We first did an in-depth audit of their business. How they spent their marketing & sales dollars, their relationships with their retail and OE partners, and what brand authority they currently had in the marketplace. 

We decided upon a very aggressive “drive to action” campaign to immediately increase sales while trying to whittle away brand share from their benchmarked competitors.  

No lies, it was a tall task, but with a very supportive internal sales and marketing team willing to shake things up – we were all in.  

We changed their entire past media and communications strategy, which had been focused on supporting their retailers and OE dealers with co-op dollars which, of course, did nothing for Conti’s own brand presence outside brick and mortar. 

Step One: We needed more money

By offering exclusive co-branded creative, we convinced their national and regional retailers to have Inspire provide the media  & creative strategy instead of their own agency partners – saving them money (we were cheaper) and allowing us to have more control over Conti and General’s brand identities and how they were amplified.   

This immediately extended our reach and frequency by having a bigger pool of cash and negotiating power with media vendors by having retailers like CTC and OK Tire on board.

Result: We quadrupled our budget solely through reallocation! Winners!

Step Two: Refined Messaging

Continental had strong branding initiated by their German parent.  Sometimes the best decision is not re-imagine simply because you have a creative agency ego. 

Ouch, but it’s true. 

For Conti  –  it was about adaptation. We had them focus on being “Engineered in Germany”, something they had shied away from amplifying in North America. 

For General, due to our retailer positioning, we implemented a two-prong approach. Known as a primarily off-road and sport utility tire in the US market, we leveraged that messaging in our more rural and western markets and created new branding as a reliable & affordable vehicle tire choice for families in our more suburban/urban markets. 

Step 3: Drive To Action

We really needed to move tires, fast!  While securing more retailer shelf space and increasing brand awareness.  We had moola now, just not stupid crazy money!

We introduced Continental to their first foray into mobile marketing in North America. Partnering with TSN & RDS we were able to create engaging campaign experiences across their digital world. Whether it was pre-rolls, takeovers, contesting,  we connected with sports and soccer fans ( MLS and World Cup sponsors).




We also turned to Radio. Nationally and Regionally. Since retailers also love radio,  this strategy allowed us to augment our budget by not solely relying on marketing dollars but by adding “sales support” dollars into our media mix.

The Results:  Every campaign in 5 years has over performed – with our latest campaign achieving a staggering 230% increase in impressions delivered over impressions booked.

Not only did sales experience uplift during our campaigns, we have secured more exclusive product deals with existing retailers and have added new national retail partners.


“Inspire provides great strategic insight for all our digital, mobile and traditional media campaigns.  Their creative ability to engage our customer has resulted in providing ROI that has surpassed our goals year over year.”

Terry Smouter,

Marketing Manager – Continental Tire Canada