NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Americas Inc. is marking the 60th anniversary of its Bandag business unit with the launch of a global campaign designed to reinvigorate the retreading technology subsidiary.
The "Built for Better" campaign "will unite the Bandag brand globally and position retreads as an innovative, sustainable business solution for fleet customers of any size," the company said.
"Bandag is one of the best stories we have to tell at Bridgestone, and we are going to do it in a way that changes the game for the retread industry," said Eric Higgs, vice president of commercial marketing at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.
The campaign includes a redesigned Bandag logo and a YouTube video about how Bandag retreading helps improve sustainability.
"We are working to educate buyers and the public-at-large on the true merits of retreading through a specific focus on three pillars of the Bandag Built for Better campaign: reliability of Bandag retreads, profitability for our dealers and fleet customers, and sustainability for all," said Ben Rosenblum, Bandag director of marketing.
"The pressures facing the retread industry are well documented. The retread industry has declined over the last five years as low-cost and low-quality tires have flooded the market. Compounding the issue is a commonly held misperception that a new tire is inherently better than a retread."
In addition to the YouTube video explaining the merits of retreading, the Bandag campaign will include digital and print content, select speaking engagements and traveling Bandag-branded trailers, the company said.
Need for education
"First and foremost, we know we must educate the industry about the reliability of a premium retreaded tire," Rosenblum said. "Retreaded tires are scientifically proven to have reliability that is comparable to new tires. This has been validated across multiple studies including a study commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan."
Rosenblum said the firm is working with academic experts to perform additional primary and secondary research regarding the reliability of retreads. Bridgestone also has introduced a new Lifetime Limited Warranty for many of its Bandag retreads and a 150-point annual audit at every Bandag retread facility.
"No matter where a fleet purchases its Bandag product, we are committed to delivering new-tire reliability and quality for a fraction of the price," Rosenblum said.
"Secondly, we aim to educate fleets on how to get the most out of their tire assets. Our most cost-efficient customers retread their tires with Bandag, on average, at least 2.5 times per casing. In some instances they drive more than 1 million miles on a single casing, all while achieving uptime that is equivalent to or better than the industry average."
Bridgestone's internal testing has shown that the use of Bandag retreads combined with a strong maintenance program can allow fleets to maintain a tire cost per mile that is less than half of the industry average, Rosenblum said.
"Quality tires are built to be retreaded multiple times, and many fleets forgo major savings opportunities with new-tire-only programs, or unnecessarily limited retread specifications," he said.
Bandag also launched the "Bandag Built for Better" campaign with the goal of demonstrating that retreads are a great option from both an environmental and economic standpoint.
"Retreading has a positive and lasting impact on the environment and the local economy," Rosenblum said. "From saving more than 200 million gallons of oil and 1.5 billion pounds of material per year to employing tens of thousands of Americans, at Bandag we believe retreading is the best option for fleets who want to buy a locally manufactured product that has a positive environmental impact."
Founded in 1957 by Roy Carver, Bandag Inc. pioneered the precure commercial truck tire retreading process. Bridgestone acquired Bandag in 2006 and today has more than 650 Bandag franchise dealers doing business on six continents.
In North America, Bandag franchise dealers operate more than 240 retread plants and 1,700 points of service; among the franchisees is Bridgestone itself, which operates 35 plants under its GCR Tires & Service business.
"We continue to invest in the Bandag business to further strengthen our retread performance—from advanced rubber compounds that leverage the latest Bridgestone technology to advanced siping that improves wear performance," said Joseph Saoud, president of truck bus and retreads at BATO.
Producing a Bandag retread requires only seven gallons of oil compared with 22 gallons of oil required to manufacture a new tire, according to Bridgestone. During its 60 years, Bandag has kept an estimated 300 million tires out of the waste stream and saved up to 4 billion gallons of oil, the company said.
"The use of Bandag retreads was a sustainable business practice before sustainability was of worldwide importance, and we continue to raise the bar today," said Rosenblum.
"Couple that with the tens of thousands of jobs the retread industry supports in the U.S. and Canada, and it's clear that retreads are the most responsible choice environmentally and economically."