Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2007   by Andrew Ross

Awareness Focus of October Car Care Campaign

Acoordinated awareness campaign as will take the place of a Be Car Care Aware media blitz this October.

Cross-country media campaigns have been successful, but it was time for another approach, explains Jane Wilcox, who has handled media arrangements for the campaign for several years now.

Building awareness among young people is an important focus of this October’s Car Safety Month activities.

University students will be the target of one initiative, says Wilcox. “Good old media relations,” she says, focusing on hooking up university media outlets with Be Car Care Aware spokesperson Kelly Williams.

Williams remains a key part of the campaign, even though much of the information provided to media outlets and the public will focus on the results of a survey of how aware Canadians are about simple vehicle maintenance. That survey reveals some important differences between the older driver and the younger driver, with the latter being revealed as particularly lacking in knowledge, sometimes in surprising areas.

“One was the number of teenagers 18 to 24 who had never checked their tire pressure,” says Williams. “It’s one of the most basic things. That was significant. [Another was] not changing the oil until the oil change light came on. We have some work to do.”

Perhaps as surprising was the fact that there was no connection between what habits drivers have, or don’t have, and why they might have been stranded by the roadside in the past.

Some 65% of respondents reported being broken down at the roadside at some point, with more than a few reporting that it was due to a flat tire, which was pretty important too.

There are some bright points to the past several years of campaigning, Wilcox notes. People are aware of the Be Car Care Aware initiative–or at least more than they were in the past–and some even reported having changed their maintenance behaviour in ways that the campaign had not even addressed. This “halo effect” indicates that those consumers have incorporated the campaign’s branding into their core thinking about car maintenance. There has been some good awareness-building among the older crowd, but there is still more to do with younger drivers.

“Tires are such an easy thing to talk about, but the message isn’t getting through,” says Wilcox. “You wonder about the young people who are reporting that they are not interested or don’t have the knowledge. What are we doing to talk to the new generation of vehicle owner? That is a lot of what we are going to be doing this October: focusing on the younger group.” Wilcox says that media and the industry all have a role to play in reaching this group better.

“They aren’t being taught it in drivers’ ed,” says Williams. “And most guys aren’t tinkering with their cars as much. Cars are more reliable, but tires still lose air pressure, and filters still get dirty. It’s a challenge.”

For more information on Be Car Care Aware activities and resources, visit

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