AutoTrader to increase PR spending by 80% in 2001

ATLANTA: Not all dot-coms are slashing budgets and cutting staff. AutoTrader.com, the leader in online auto classifieds, this week announced plans for a dollars 40 million marketing blitz and an 80% increase in PR spending for 2001.

ATLANTA: Not all dot-coms are slashing budgets and cutting staff. AutoTrader.com, the leader in online auto classifieds, this week announced plans for a dollars 40 million marketing blitz and an 80% increase in PR spending for 2001.

ATLANTA: Not all dot-coms are slashing budgets and cutting staff. AutoTrader.com, the leader in online auto classifieds, this week announced plans for a dollars 40 million marketing blitz and an 80% increase in PR spending for 2001.

While the majority of Auto-Trader.com's marketing funds will go toward a TV campaign, online advertising and sponsorship of sporting events, at least dollars 1.5 million of the total budget has been earmarked for PR-specific activities, according to VP of marketing Clark Wood. That figure, which goes primarily to PR firm of record, San Francisco-based Access Communications (since the company has no in-house PR staff), could be increased according to need and opportunity throughout the year, Wood added.

'Last year Access played an key role in our marketing and communications success,' said Wood, who hopes to hire an in-house PR manager some time this year. 'We had many challenges to overcome, including getting a late start in a crowded category and being stymied by the (pre-IPO, SEC-enforced) quiet period, as well as the pulling of our S1. They were able to come up with creative promotions, like the 'Road to the White House' campaign and the story about our lack of Super Bowl advertising this year, to get us positive press.'

Both Wood and Access account director Colby Grimes said that AutoTrader.com's 2001 PR campaign will focus on reaching consumers and trade publications read by dealers, and forging more key business partnerships with companies such as AOL.

Founded in 1998 as AutoConnect, AutoTrader.com has quickly taken the lead in the online used-car market. The site's user base has increased 300% to more than four million per month, and vehicle searches have increased 150%. Earlier this month, the company announced a multiyear alliance with AOL, in which AutoTrader.com becomes the exclusive provider of used-car classified listings across all major AOL brands.



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