How Tire Makers Started Selling Xmas Records in the 1960s

  • Currently you can listen to whichever you want on Apple Audio or Spotify, but back in the 1960s, your Christmas music was on the radio or on vinyl.
  • It seems unlikely now, but Goodyear and Firestone marketed holiday songs alongside tires throughout holiday getaway seasons of the 1960s and early 1970s.
  • As an Ohio-based LP-to-MP3 conversion firm is still executing a booming enterprise with these vintage discs, although the period of finding them at tire shops is very long long gone.

From Spotify playlists to radio stations starting off vacation tunes on Black Friday, it is really approximately extremely hard to prevent the appears of the Christmas spirit. But again in the 1960s, if you wished a compilation of getaway tunes, probabilities are you picked it up at the exact same location you would get a new set of whitewalls. From 1961 to the mid-’70s, very well ahead of Mariah Carey’s monopoly on the holiday spirit, tire producers this kind of as Goodyear and Firestone presented Christmas documents in their suppliers for about $1 (the equivalent of about $9.40 currently).

Stanley Arnold was the guy dependable for the not likely, nevertheless productive, pairing of rubber and Rudolph. Arnold worked at an promotion company in advance of placing out on his own and convincing executives at Goodyear to entice prospects into its outlets with one thing that right now any person with a smartphone can obtain: a who’s who of common Christmas addresses. Arnold’s thought served Goodyear market a lot more than 15 million records—not to point out thousands and thousands in tire and accessory sales—over 17 many years.

The albums even stay well-liked today. “They are even now our bestsellers, notably the Goodyear and Firestone albums,” stated David Feinauer, co-operator of Xmas LPs to CD, a Cincinnati, Ohio, business that converts vinyl into downloadable MP3s and CDs. “For Goodyear, the 1965 and ’66 [albums] are the two most well-known the Firestones have a more even desire.”

A Fortunate Strike

But how did Arnold affiliate Christmas audio with tire corporations? The idea, as he wrote his 1968 reserve Tale of the Blue Horse and Other Million Dollar Adventures, started soon after a meeting at Blessed Strike’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina. Arnold and other people have been invited to pitch strategies that would support raise cigarette revenue.

“All the way back again to the business I kept humming the tune of the Lucky Strike television professional that had been played at the assembly,” Arnold wrote. “I decided that new music would reverse the income decrease of Blessed Strike.”

Arnold’s strategy was to present a assortment of new music, pulled from Columbia Data, to these who mailed in $1 and proof of purchase of Fortunate Strikes. It was not prolonged until finally income climbed. The approach proved productive, and Arnold established out to repeat it with one more billion-dollar industry: tires.

A Goodyear for Xmas Music

With the runup to Xmas remaining a huge year for tire gross sales, Arnold wager that audio could draw men and women into Goodyear’s then 60,000 retail stores. Arnold pitched the thought that potential buyers would be interested in a Christmas music album.

A single of the approaches he manufactured it straightforward for a tire organization to agree to provide documents was by proving it wouldn’t value them everything. Arnold worked with Columbia Information, which agreed to put with each other a selection of its finest recording artists, which it would offer to Goodyear as an unique for only $1 for every document. As very long as Goodyear sold the records for the very same quantity, the tire firm wouldn’t pay out a penny for the albums. Even if no 1 acquired a tire, chances were that these companies would not reduce funds from this scheme.

For the inaugural Good Tracks of Christmas, Arnold amassed a collection of timeless tunes that integrated the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “Silent Night time” and the Leonard Bernstein–led New York Philharmonic’s variation of “Unto Us a Child Is Born,” as nicely as classics this sort of as “The To start with Noel,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Deck the Halls.” In spite of Arnold’s suggestion to order 3 million copies, Goodyear countered with 90,000 data. Arnold worked to get the purchase up to 900,000.

Christmas by the Fireplace(stone)

It was close to this time Arnold heard that Firestone was operating with RCA Records on a Christmas album. Of the conspicuous timing, Arnold wrote: “These coincidences are common in the entire world of thoughts, but the choosing elements are the relative quality of the concepts and the resolve with which administration supports them.”

By December 1, 1961, immediately after only a couple of weeks of revenue, Goodyear stopped advertising and marketing the Christmas album—the tire big experienced marketed just about every record it purchased. When Goodyear’s 2nd Xmas album arrived out in 1962, it offered each individual one particular of the 1.5 million copies it purchased. This pattern ongoing, way too. By the time Goodyear’s sixth Christmas album came out, the tire business had upped its order rely to 4 million data. After once more, they bought out. Finally, distribution for the Goodyear Christmas compilations switched from Columbia Documents to RCA Information. As a result, a diverse set of artists appeared on these albums, which include Julie Andrews and Ella Fitzgerald.

Firestone, in the meantime, released a full of seven Xmas data starting off in 1962 and ending in the 1970s. Whilst Goodyear’s data frequently highlighted illustrations or photos of the artists, Firestone’s showcased a bow. Feinauer categorized the Goodyear albums as getting much more of a pop twist with songs these as “Jingle Bells.” The Firestone collections, meanwhile, skewed a bit far more classic, as proven by the records’ extra modest branding.

By the mid-’60s, the pattern of tire companies marketing Christmas tunes was firmly set up, with other tire suppliers, together with BFGoodrich, signing up for in. Other stores, these types of as JCPenney and Sears, quickly made available Xmas records of their have. With this greater competition, gross sales of this kind of albums from tire businesses started to wane. Ahead of very long, the period of tire brands marketing Xmas documents came to a near.