Watching the current Euro 2012 each night for the past week and a half you couldn't help but notice the abundance of Continental sponsorship and signage around the grounds in both Poland and Ukraine. Since the World Cup in Germany in 2006 Continental has been closely associated with the beautiful game and is to be welcomed as a positive alternative to some of the usual or traditional sponsors of sport.
Multi National food and drink companies could also be blamed for promoting obesity and poor health by associating themselves with spectator sports. Again, there is merit in this argument given the impulse nature of consumption where such products are concerned. Tyres, whilst not necessarily a healthy product are somewhat benign by comparison.
So what is in it for Continental? Tyres are probably the ultimate distress purchase. Ask a consumer where they'd prefer to spend €500; A Dentist or a Tyre Shop?. The Dentist would probably come out tops. People buy tyres only when they need them. There is little of a feel good factor where the purchase is concerned. The advertiser can really only target the ''Secure needs'' of the consumer when pitching tyres to the marketplace.Hence most ads we see are about the safety features of tyre. How much better it is in the wet, does it keep your family safe?,etc.
The pitch side billboards at Euro 2012 do not deliver these messages.They're too complex in a fast moving sport. In fact they rarely feature anything other than the Euro Logo and The Continental Brand. It is Brand recognition that Continental is striving for and in truth they are succeeding.
There are now hundreds of tyre brands on the European market with imports from China and the far east contributing to an already competitive marketplace.However there are only a handful of household brand names. They are Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Pirelli, Dunlop and Continental. In some markets Hankook, Kumho,Semperit, Firestone and others have strong recognition but the big six mentioned above have the lead in consumer familiarity.Continental have definitely broken into that six in recent years and deservedly so. The R&D behind their products is second to none and shows in their performance. At Heffernan Tyres Kildare we are seeing excellent performance results in all Continental product groups.
The Corporate side of the Continental has really stepped up a gear and their stand at Reifen Essen Tyre fair 2012 was probably the most professionally organised and presented. They had some innovative new products and transparent yet professional presentation of same.
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In Ireland Continental Tyre Group are very active in the area of market research and surveys. They have conducted much research and produced valuable statistics and MIS in an effort to improve road safety for motorists and promote good driving habits. They are a standard driver in retail and introduced the Semperit Retailer Of The Year in 2010 to promote professionalism in our industry. Heffernan Tyres has won this prestigious award two years running. Continental Tyre Group provide us with up to date information and data regarding the marketplace we operate in and are for the most part, a pleasure to work with. We are happy to recommend Continental products to our customers. UEFA and FIFA should be happy to be associated with Continental Tyre Group also. Long may these relationships continue and prosper.