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BFGoodrich: When Influencers and Product Placement Are in Perfect Harmony

How BFGoodrich, a Michelin brand, used influencer marketing to break outside of its motorsport market and reach a younger, engaged audience.
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Case Study

BFGoodrich: When Influencers and Product Placement Are in Perfect Harmony

How BFGoodrich, a Michelin brand, used influencer marketing to break outside of its motorsport market and reach a younger, engaged audience.

This past November, we had the pleasure of participating in the Hubday Social & Digital Advertising Conference, a full day event dedicated to exploring how companies are using innovative marketing campaigns to inspire consumer engagement.

During the event, a team from Michelin presented its winning influencer marketing strategy for the BFGoodrich brand, outlining how they successfully reached new audiences outside its typically older, and motorsport-specific demographic. 

Below are excerpts from a presentation given by Guylaine Drolet, European Digital & Influencer Partnerships Manager at Michelin and Estelle Ledieu, European Engagement Manager for the BFGoodrich brand. 

How to break away from your typical market and rejuvenate your audience

BFGoodrich is an American brand founded 150 years ago that has always placed two values at the center of what they do: performance and passion. The brand sells both off-road and everyday consumer tires, but is actually best known in motorsports like rally raid (a type of off-road racing) where they have a lot of visibility at big events like Paris-Dakar.

However, while the BFGoodrich is well known in motorsport, the brand wanted to broaden its brand awareness by reaching a younger and bolder audience. The ability to reach audiences outside of a specific industry is something that many brands struggle with - beauty brands, for example, have been searching for a way to do this and some have found success with gaming influencers. Michelin’s marketing team knew social media was key, and set out to commission creative partnerships with influencers. 

To narrow their search, the Michelin team wanted to find engaging people who embody its brand values of “performance and passion”. The brand eventually decided to focus on athletes in non-automobile sports, leading them to partner with 5 Red Bull extreme sports athletes who are well-known in Europe. The link? While they may not have needed to use BFGoodrich tires during their competitions, they definitely needed quality tires to get to practice! 

Selection of “limitless” influencers 

To select the 5 influencers for this campaign, the brand combed through Red Bull athletes, identifying those in extreme sports that match the brand’s values. Then, they analyzed their social media profiles using Traackr to select and validate their choice partners based on: 

  • Credibility and quality of the influencer’s audience - to ensure that they do not have too many influencers or suspicious accounts among their followers, for example. 
  • Evolution of the influencer’s engagement rate - to ensure that it is not declining or unstable. 
  • Audience demographic data and affinities - for sport and other brands in the industry. 
  • Insight on each influencer’s historical content - to ensure that the messaging and tone they typically produce are in line with the brand’s image and values

This search and analysis resulted in these 5 influencers being selected: 

  • Martin Maes – Professional enduro and slope mountain bike pilot (mid-influencer)  Mathilde Gremaud – Swiss acrobatic skier (micro-influencer) 
  • Horacio Llorens – Professional acrobatic paraglider (mid-influencer) 
  • Fred Fugen – French sportsman free falling specialist (mid-influencer) 
  • Adrian Mattern – Austrian kayaker (micro-influencer) 

Subtle and non-intrusive product placement 

For this activation, BFGoodrich partnered with these athletes to make 5 creative Instagram videos that featured each athlete practicing their discipline. The videos only had one golden rule: give the athletes creative freedom. The team felt that in order to preserve a certain credibility and authenticity, it was critical to not be too intrusive about product placement and instead focus on elevating the spirit of the athletes and brand.

Once the assets were created, each influencer posted short segments of their full videos over a 10 day period. In their post, the influencer acknowledged BFGoodrich as a co-producer and tagged the @bfgoodricheurope Instagram account, inviting their audiences to discover the full version of the video. This full video was only made available on the brand’s Instagram account, and was a montage of the 5 videos with the best takes of each athlete. This also created a great way for each individual influencer to get extra lift to their personal profiles alongside the BFGoodrich brand. 

The results of the campaign 

In addition to the many positive comments from the activated athletes’ audiences, the social data showed the campaign to be a big success. The BFGoodrich team used Traackr to monitor the campaign, measure KPIs and report on results results from each influencer’s account. Thanks to Traackr’s influencer report and the integration of the influencers’ accounts on the platform, BFGoodrich knows this campaign earned them 27.8k impressions. 

The team felt the campaign results were very exciting, especially given the fact that this was the first time the brand had ever tried this type of collaboration. It is worth noting that the following results are based on specific KPIs and calculation methods set by Michelin. They may be different from the results generally obtained by other brands. 

  • 59.5K total engagement on the videos from 0 to 15 seconds + interactions. 
  • 49.5K total video views 
  • 49% total engagement rate on the real impressions 
  • 0.22€ /$0.25 cost per engagement (this includes the cost of providing each influencer tires + each influencers’ commission) 
  • +429 new followers on the Instagram account @bfgoodricheurope 

With this new, creative strategy BFGoodrich was able to gain ground off the beaten track. The brand managed to prove that it is possible to breakthrough outside of its typical domain (in this case motorsports) by working with strategically selected influencers, producing creative and interesting content, and highlighting their product in a respectful way, while keeping the influencer and their community in mind. 

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