Client: autoTRADER Canada
Agency: DDB Canada
Campaign Period: February 2012 – August 2012
2013 Cassies Award Winner: Grand Prix, Gold,
Off to a Good Start category
For more than 25 years, auto-TRADER’s finely tuned balance of auto listings and active buyers helped make its magazine the best way to buy or sell a car in Canada. But as shoppers migrated to the Internet, that supply/demand balance was threatened. Even after autoTRADER launched an online format, it proved challenging to migrate and maintain its audience.
“It was crucial that we not only defend existing share of users going to autoTRADER.ca, but build it up to deliver even more response to our advertisers.That’s how dealers and private sellers get the response they need, and that’s how we become more profitable as well,” says Ian MacDonald, autoTRADER’s director of marketing.
In a call for proposals in late 2011, autoTRADER asked agencies to explore various value propositions that could restore its brand leadership. Only DDB used research to validate its idea that “the most cars in one place” was the message that would once again make autoTRADER top of mind for Canadian car buyers.
“We were really impressed that DDB had undertaken primary research with consumers to validate their hypotheses about brand positioning and which messages are going to motivate users to visit autoTrader.”
DDB also demonstrated the importance of an integrated campaign, says Mr. MacDonald. “Creative concepts need to be able to work hard across a spectrum of media. It’s not just TV, radio, print, but mobile, digital, video on demand and social media.”
While young auto buyers were gravitating to new, generalist online vending sites, DDB’s research confirmed that an automotive specialty site with the most inventory is psychologically reassuring to consumers. “It makes them feel that they have ‘left no stone unturned’ in their quest to find the perfect car,” says Denise Rossetto, executive creative director, DDB Canada.
“When it comes to cars for sale online, autoTRADER has the largest inventory. We felt that was the key message: if you’re looking for a car, you’d be crazy not to check them out.”
Gaining a better understanding of their client’s creative preferences was DDB’s next step.
“Spending time together helped us discover their personality and tone in order to capture it in the work we did together. They have a sense of humour, and are approachable, friendly and likable,” says Ms. Rossetto.“To make an online site feel really friendly and fun was something that inspired me and the team.”
Beyond encouraging DDB’s creative team to take a humorous, contemporary approach, Ms. Rossetto says the auto- TRADER team was “completely open, excited and very savvy about new ways of getting their message across. Again, that was inspiring to the team, and helped us think of the autoLYZER, which I thought was a very cool part of the campaign.”
“The whole autoLYZER piece that was on Facebook was fantastic,” says Mr. MacDonald, describing a fun app that DDB created to help buyers figure out what car would be right for them.
“It showed DDB’s really strong understanding and insight of digital and its capabilities – the nuances of social media and why it’s so popular: People enjoy sharing,” says Mr. MacDonald. “DDB’s psychological insights about why we share online fed the creation of the autoLYZER, because it speaks perfectly to them.”
“Our motto is creativity is the most powerful force in business. This is a prime example of work that breaks through and that we need to be doing.””
autoLYZER and other aspects of the campaign were also award-winning examples of effective teamwork.
“Their willingness to modify their approach based on feedback really stood out for me,” says Mr. MacDonald. “As a client, that’s something you look for in an agency. Sometimes you want to be convinced – but at the same, collaborating to mould creative concepts is important, because we naturally have a closer proximity to the business.”
While the integrated campaign also included radio, online, public relations and business-to business dimensions, Mr. Mac-Donald says autoLYZER and the“Stoplight” TV campaign “are probably the two most interesting and hardest working pieces of creative that we’ve had in the last year.”
ABOUT THE AWARDS
Canadian Advertising Success Stories – the CASSIES – is Canada’s only awards show recognizing the business effectiveness of advertising as demonstrated by rigorous published cases. The ICA (Institute of Communication Agencies) is the driving force behind the event, supported in Quebec by the AAPQ (Association des agences de Publicité du Québec) and APCM (Association des professionnels de la communication et du marketing). Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the CASSIES reflect the ICA’s long-standing dedication to the advertiser-agency partnership and continuous learning.
Winning cases must successfully navigate a demanding two-tier examination by senior-level judges. All told, more than 350 success stories have been published in the Case Library at cassies.ca, along with Crossover Notes that point out critical success factors.
“Advertising and digital communication built on great insights has incredible power to dramatically build business. In this case, a detailed analysis of the brand revealed that autoTRADER.ca has the largest car inventory in Canada. Creatively, this insight translated into “The Most Cars in One Place,” which drove double-digit growth against multiple targets,” says Gillian Graham, CEO of the ICA.
The road to CANNES
For many CASSIES awardwinning ad agencies, the next challenge will be to take their best work to France to compete in the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, June 16 to 22. Officially represented in Canada by The Globe and Mail, the annual Cannes Lions awards are widely considered a pinnacle of global excellence in creative communications.