Auto Trader plans ad offensive

Auto Trader is planning its largest marketing push yet to guard its classified motor ad territory against a host of newcomers, including Loot’s Hot Car and web ventures Fish4 and Autobytel.

Auto Trader is planning its largest marketing push yet to guard its

classified motor ad territory against a host of newcomers, including

Loot’s Hot Car and web ventures Fish4 and Autobytel.



The ’find your perfect partner’ campaign, which plays on the emotional

attachment people have to their cars, will break on 8 May.



The marketing offensive involves television, press and online

advertising, direct marketing, point of sale activity and public

relations.



Matt Thompson, group marketing director of Auto Trader, has instructed

the Scottish agency Media Faulds to blitz TV, radio, cinema, the net and

business-to-business magazines across the UK. He described the

advertising drive as ’popular and populist’.



’The campaign is aimed at all potential car buyers - men, women, old and

young,’ explained Thompson. ’Our research shows that we are highly

regarded. However, a proportion of car buyers still don’t feel Auto

Trader is for them. We want to encourage them to try it.’



Creative agency Faulds Advertising has produced television and cinema

commercials plus five radio executions based on the ’perfect partners’

theme.



Media Faulds has bought spots on national terrestrial stations,

including Channel 4 and Channel 5, and a raft of regional stations.

Radio ads will run on ’virtually every regional radio station’ from

Capital in London to Clyde in Glasgow, according to Thompson.



Ads in the trade press have been designed to appeal to specific target

groups such as owners of newsagents.



Meanwhile Carat Interactive, which is handling web buying for the

campaign, is snapping up ad space on portals such as Yahoo!.



Auto Trader is 20 years old. According to the last batch of figures from

the Audit Bureau of Circulations (July-December 1999), 326,389 copies of

the magazine are sold each week. The website recorded more than two

million visits in February 2000.



However, the brand’s market share is being eroded by new rivals. For

example, Fish4, the localised web venture formed by a consortium of

regional newspapers, runs a motoring site called Fish4Cars. Loot’s

latest venture Hot Car, which launched earlier this year (Media

Business, 6 March), along with older players like Exchange and Mart and

regional newspapers are also eating into Auto Trader’s ad revenue.



The Auto Trader newspaper and website carry a total of 200,000 vehicle

ads.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).