NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Americas Inc. engaged Jon Gruden, former NFL head coach and ESPN football analyst, as the latest spokesperson for its series of TV commercials for the Driveguard run-flat tire line.
Gruden—who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their only Super Bowl win in 2003—is featured in a TV spot called "Pep Talk" that debuted during the Sept. 7 NFL season-opener.
The spot leverages Gruden's signature intensity to demonstrate the performance of DriveGuard tires, which allow drivers to travel up to 50 miles after a puncture or loss of pressure.
"Bridgestone DriveGuard tires are engineered to come through in the clutch, which is something that legendary NFL coach Jon Gruden knows all about," said Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "Coach Gruden is famous for his inspiring speeches when the game is on the line, so it was fun to see him get in that zone to coach up our DriveGuard tires—especially when he realized they don't need any motivation to deliver elite performance."
The hiring of Gruden dovetails with Bridgestone's status as the official tire of the National Football League and the beginning of the 2017-18 NFL season. Prior to this, Bridgestone has used actors Julie Bowen and Will Arnett, and U.S. Olympic archers as spokespersons for the Driveguard.
In addition to the TV spot, Bridgestone is launching an "Elite Performance with Jon Gruden" digital extension of the "Pep Talk" concept. In a series of short, tongue-in-cheek videos, Gruden delivers inspiring messages to help fans overcome everything from fantasy football pitfalls to the struggles of Monday mornings.
"The game of football means a lot to me," Gruden said. "To work with a company like Bridgestone, that's aligned itself with the sport at the highest level, makes me very proud to participate in this campaign."
Gruden coached in the NFL for 17 seasons, including four as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and seven with Tampa Bay. He retired from coaching in 2009 with an overall record of 100-85.
On its social channels, Bridgestone also recently debuted a video series featuring more than 30 NFL rookies, including Deshaun Watson, Leonard Fournette and Mitchell Trubisky. In a mix of inspiring, comedic and educational content that will run August through December, the league's newest stars take on fun performance challenges, test their tire knowledge and share personal thoughts on #ElitePerformance with stories of how they've overcome adversity in their careers.
"For more than 80 years, Bridgestone has delivered tires that perform their best when it matters most," Dobbs said. "As we embark on our 11th season as an NFL partner, we are proud to continue our longstanding support for the sport, engage with its millions of loyal, performance-minded fans, and celebrate what it means to be an elite performer."
In addition to its role as the NFL's official tire brand, Bridgestone has local sponsorship agreements with 13 NFL teams—the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.