Ad Wars: Discount Tire Versus Conrad's Tire Express

Bob Ulrich
Posted on February 16, 2017

This screen capture is from a local Conrad's ad that ran on the Feb. 15 broadcast of ABC World News Tonight.
This screen capture is from a local Conrad's ad that ran on the Feb. 15 broadcast of ABC World News Tonight.
Last night I watched back-to-back tire advertisements on the national evening news that took different approaches to wooing the customer. One was from Discount Tire. The other was from Conrad’s Tire Express & Total Car Care.

Both are listed in the Modern Tire Dealer 100. Discount Tire is number one, a national chain with more than 925 stores in 32 states. Conrad’s is number 30, a regional chain with 36 stores in Northeast Ohio. Here is a breakdown of their ads, each 30 seconds long.

Discount Tire (Reinalt-Thomas Corp.)

“Discount Tire is the place where America saves on tires,” said the announcer. And the ad touted a Presidents Day sale this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 17-18). Consumers can get up to a $100 VISA Prepaid Card “when you buy select sets of tires.” No brands were given.

Wait, there’s more savings. You also can get a $100 prepaid card when you buy any set of wheels.

And if that isn’t enough savings – potentially $200 – the ad said you can save even more if you use your Discount Tire credit card.

In summary, buy a certain set of tires, a set of wheels and use your Discount Tire credit card and you can save up to $320.

Conrad’s Tire Express & Total Car Care (Conrad’s Tire Service Inc.)

“Check engine lights. Radiators. Brakes. Belts. Shocks. Tune-ups. You name the service, you name the vehicle, there’s only one name you need. Conrad’s.”

The actor talking in the ad was whispering, because Conrad’s is known for whispering its name in its television advertising.

Then the ad promoted a $17.95 lube, oil and filter special that included a four-tire rotation and “a free courtesy inspection” – a $38.95 value.

“Service you can trust? Do what nearly a thousand of smart people do every day,” said the actor.” Just whisper.” And then someone whispered “Conrad’s.” The ad didn't mention tires at all.

Discount Tire didn't list brands in its Presidents Day ad on ABC World News Tonight, but this screen capture of the tire tread that appeared in the ad reveals one of the brands -- although it is disguised with a George Washington wig. Which brand is it?
Discount Tire didn't list brands in its Presidents Day ad on ABC World News Tonight, but this screen capture of the tire tread that appeared in the ad reveals one of the brands -- although it is disguised with a George Washington wig. Which brand is it?

Here are my observations.

First, I don’t know if the Discount Tire ad was national or not. Because there are 18 states in which the company does not have a tire store, I can’t believe the ad ran during the national news broadcast in those states. My guess is it ran just in Northeast Ohio; Discount Tire has three stores in the area.

Second, each company promoted what it does best. Discount Tire doesn’t offer any automotive services. It just sells tires and wheels (and mounts and balances them). Conrad’s offers both undercar and under-hood services.

Third, I found it odd the tire ads ran one after the other. Perhaps Conrad’s asked if another tire dealer was running an ad, and asked to follow it. I don’t know what the policy is for local stations when it comes to advertising -- maybe when one company buys an ad, they call its competitors and say, "Hey, your competitor is running an ad. You should too."

Fourth, Conrad’s has 36 stores and, according to the ad, nearly a thousand customers a day. I am going to estimate that at least 950 customers could be considered “nearly 1,000.” That works out to 26 to 27 cars per outlet per day. I don’t know the car count at the three Discount Tire stores in Northeast Ohio, but MTD estimates the average Discount Tire store sells more than 80 tires a day.

Fun fact: Presidents Day refers to only one president, George Washington. The federal government has not adopted “Presidents Day” as the official name of what is legally the “Washington’s Birthday” holiday.

Related Topics: B.O.B., Conrad's Tire Express, Discount Tire, TV advertising

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • See all comments
  • dennis

     | about 5 months ago

    you did not come to a conclusion, yes boxes are tough on the numbers. Have you been in them? shopped them? I have I find indifferent service, lots of I don't know about that , poor wait time ,and you never have the same guys twice. these same things can happen w any tire/service shop. Our job is to make a personal connection w the customer. Treat them as you would like to be treated. Both outlets can forget that item

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