[ Variable Data Elements ]

Variable data and digital printing helped Bridgestone take the process one step further with the ability to include personalized collateral in materials for dealers. Variable data and images include tire brand and model, sizes, pricing, service coupons, logos and sale dates. In addition to American English, the system supports Spanish, Canadian French and Canadian English.

[ How It Was Produced ]

Now dealers can interactively modify flyers and newspaper ads in almost any way, while maintaining the graphic integrity of the templates. The system prompts for production specifications and sends a watermarked PDF proof online.

The dealer can make revisions or come back later to finish. The system then sends a high-resolution PDF to Copyco or one of a network of printers closest to the dealer.

The system also notifies Bridgestone marketing managers about usage and prices, and ensures that all information contained in the documents, such as prices and sizes, are correct. Bridgestone can generate usage reports, add or update dealer profiles, and add or change content or images in the digital asset management system.

The end result of the flyer program is a letter-size sheet, with four-over-four color on either 50-lb. offset or 50-lb. enamel stock. An average print run for flyers is 20,000; most are printed on web and sheetfed offset presses at a location closest to the final distribution point.

About five percent, usually rush jobs, are produced on digital printers with similar run lengths. Digital equipment includes a Heidelberg Quickmaster DI digital press and Océ CPS 900 color printer for the rush orders. Pageflex EDIT facilitates ad layout, while Pageflex Mpower is used to print flyers, and MediaBank provides the digital asset management system. Finishing varies according to type of material produced.

[ The Results ]

The program has reduced the lead time for marketing programs from 10 weeks to 72 hours and greatly streamlined production of advertising and POS materials for tire dealers. More than 700 orders were handled in one year, including 16 million flyers.

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