Tire ad still rolling after 4 decades
Late founder Halle’s idea was part of inspiration for record TV commercial
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