Tire ad still rolling af­ter 4 decades

Late founder Halle’s idea was part of in­spi­ra­tion for record TV com­mer­cial

The Arizona Republic - - Obituaries - Richard Rue­las

Be­sides a na­tional tire fran­chise and for­tune, Bruce Halle, who died on Thurs­day at 87, also helped create a 10sec­ond tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial, fea­tur­ing a woman throw­ing a tire through a win­dow, that has aired longer than any other.

In the spot, a woman wear­ing a flow­ered dress, sweater and hat rolls a tire us­ing her gloved hands.

“If ever you’re not sat­is­fied with one of our tires,” an an­nouncer says, “please feel free to bring it back.”

The woman is shown lift­ing the tire and sway­ing it back and forth be­fore fling­ing it into the air.

The next scene shows the tire fly­ing through a win­dow of a tire store, smack­ing the Dis­count Tire name writ­ten on the glass.

“Thank you,” the an­nouncer says, as the screen shows the Dis­count Tire name still leg­i­ble amid the bro­ken glass shards.

The ad was filmed in 1975 and started run­ning in 1976. A Dis­count Tire spokesper­son said on Fri­day that is still in use af­ter more than 41 years.

The ad was cre­ated by the Robert Natkin Ad­ver­tis­ing agency of Scotts­dale, with the idea com­ing from both Natkin and Halle, a Par­adise Val­ley res­i­dent, who started Dis­count Tire in 1960.

“We were sit­ting in his of­fice talk­ing about silly ideas,” Natkin told The Repub­lic

in 1988. “It was one of those spur-of-the-mo­ment serendip­ity things.”

The spot was filmed at the MetroCen­ter lo­ca­tion of Dis­count Tire Co., which still stands.

Ac­cord­ing to that 1988 ar­ti­cle, the woman cast to play the part of the un­happy cus­tomer, Max­ine Olm­stead, was not strong enough to ac­tu­ally throw the tire and wheel into the win­dow.

That man, John Staub, told The Repub­lic in 2007 that sharp-eyed view­ers might be able to spot his re­flec­tion in the glass be­fore breaks. He would be the mus­ta­chioed per­son in the dress.

The win­dow didn’t break on the first try. The sec­ond try didn’t strike the com­pany logo dead cen­ter. But, af­ter paus­ing for the win­dow to be re­placed, the third take was used.

Which was good since the bud­get al­lowed for only three win­dow breaks, Jerry Hartleben, the pro­ducer of the ad, told The Repub­lic in 2007.

Hartleben likened the brief com­mer­cial to a haiku. Halle said the ad was so brief be­cause, at the time, a 10-sec­ond spot was all he could af­ford.

The com­mer­cial ran in more than 20 mar­kets.

In 2004, it en­tered the Guin­ness Book of World Records as the longestrun­ning ad in tele­vi­sion his­tory. Halle and other ex­ec­u­tives dressed in flow­ery dresses, sim­i­lar to the woman in the ad, to cel­e­brate.

The com­pany in­tro­duced a se­quel in 2007. It was an ex­panded 30-sec­ond ver­sion of the ad with higher pro­duc­tion val­ues and mu­sic. A white-haired woman in a denim shirt and jeans did the toss­ing this time.

But the 10-sec­ond orig­i­nal soon re­turned.

Some­time in the 1980s, a cus­tomer in Michi­gan ac­tu­ally took the com­pany up on its of­fer.

He was up­set be­cause he had a flat tire for a sec­ond time, Steve Fournier, a com­pany ex­ec­u­tive told The Repub­lic in 1988.

“He was determined to do it,” Fournier said, “so the store man­ager cleared ev­ery­one out of the way and told him to do it.” “We were sit­ting in his of­fice talk­ing about silly ideas. It was one of those spur-of-the-mo­ment serendip­ity things.” Robert Natkin Of Robert Natkin Ad­ver­tis­ing agency, talk­ing about Dis­count Tire com­mer­cial

Bruce Halle

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