CAR REPORT: You are invited to the launch of ... Below-the-line car promotion is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Jade Garrett reports



Paul Fraser, copywriter Limbo

Car showrooms. Scary things. Lizards in Burton suits eyeing your every

move, waiting to pounce and make that sale. Not a welcoming environment

for Bob Customer.

Unless Bob visits an Audi Centre, that is. Its staff are receiving

training to treat customers the way they want to be treated.

This attitude change is reflected in the new-look dealerships, designed

to make people feel comfortable. Limbo added to this by leaving huge car

shots off point-of-sale posters. It feels less like a showroom. Besides,

the cars are in front of you.

Instead, the images in our 12-strong campaign were unrelated to selling

cars. This is so they work simply as pictures on the wall to make the

place feel more welcoming - like someone’s front room (albeit a front

room with cars parked in it). Then, on closer examination, Bob Customer

discovers they bring attention to interesting facts about the Audi and

the innovations that set it apart from other manufacturers. These facts

bring the reader closer to the brand, helping to develop a relationship

(that’s what our creative planner says).

’Interesting,’ direct

marketing dinosaurs say, ’but what about the response?’ Well, customers

keep asking if they can take copies home.


George Boyter

The next generation Renault Espace needed to sell at a premium price in

its sector so the campaign’s tone of voice had to be suitably


The car looked best in silver, so this was selected as the identifying

colour for all mailings: pre-launch teaser, ’interest-keeper’, launch

mailing and then a sequence of ’range extension’ announcements to keep

up the dialogue.

It was cost effective to make the launch mailing a sort of armchair test

drive, with a wealth of cardboard engineering that echoed the innovative

features of the Espace itself.

Potential customers could experience the interior of the car and its

benefits in an inviting, tactile way. We knew children were more

influential in the choice of an MPV than in other car sectors, hence the

fun elements.

The Espace has more than met its sales targets, even with the premium

price, and with no above-the-line support.


Mike Cavers, creative director Payne Stracey

To convey the new Nissan brand positioning - dura-bility, quality and

reliability - we needed to communicate the build quality that goes into

every Nissan by bring-ing to life some of the thousands of tests it

undertakes on its cars.

We developed a format capable of revealing facts one by one in the order

we wanted the consumer to digest them. We also used this as a carrier

for other tailor-made information including price, spec and


Views of the car carry a repeat pattern of icons to symbolise a key

consumer benefit. Handcuffs are used to dramatise the fact that Nissan

uses ex-car thieves to test its

anti-theft systems.

The large areas of flat colour were used to show the colour range of the

model and also to act as the message carrier for the key facts about the


Overall, the success of this programme lies in its clarity of thought

and single-mindedness of message.

This helped to make it simple for consumers to understand an effective

piece of direct marketing.


Andy Blackford, creative director Grey Direct

I chose our Avensis mailing on grounds unrecognised by most creative

directors - namely, it worked.

Also, we thought it up all by ourselves. To the layman, this may seem

unremarkable. But what usually happens is, the ad agency spends pounds 5

million on a campaign dripping with sophistication and production

values, then the direct marketing agency photocopies it on to 90gsm

recycled paper and stuffs it in an envelope for 50p.

Moreover, we agreed with our client that, instead of blasting off

millions of mailshots at a random sample of the human race -

five-year-olds, convicted murderers, the blind - we’d be more selective

and sophisticated in our targeting than most DM agencies.

The Avensis was Toyota’s most important launch of the decade. We made a

case for a loose interpretation of the campaign line. Very loose. We

presented the new car as the automotive representative of the seven

deadly sins.

The pictures are pretty, the copy’s witty, it pulled like a train and

the client nearly ran out of cars.

Our only disappointment: they wouldn’t let us say ’deadly’. But that’s

life, I suppose. Or rather, death.


Charles Webre, creative director WCJ

As you can imagine, telling car dealers that they now have to worry

about the internet as a marketing medium isn’t exactly the message they

want to hear.

Running a dealership is time-consuming enough. However, more and more

people are basing their purchases on information they get from shopping

around on the net. This pack makes it easy for them to see the value of

the internet, likening it to their dealership window.

Start talking to your typical franchise owner about servers, html codes

and software and his eyes will start glazing over, so we kept the

language and ideas simple. Show him what internet marketing really is,

namely a new showroom window, and it becomes significant. We used clear

plastic to recreate the feel of a dealership window - complete with a

boy’s nose pressed up against it. The copy tells the dealer we’ve built

a site and will update features over time.


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