AutoTrader ties initiative to MLB to drive awareness

AutoTrader, long known as an outlet for used cars, decided to raise awareness about its new car offering by tapping into the sports partnerships it already had in place.

PR Team: AutoTrader and Porter Novelli (both Atlanta)

Campaign: Drive to a New Start

Duration: April 2008-May 2009

Budget: $750,000

 

AutoTrader, long known as an outlet for used cars, decided to raise awareness about its new car offering by tapping into the sports partnerships it already had in place. The Atlanta-based company worked with Porter Novelli on the integrated campaign, which targeted men ages 25 to 55.

 

Strategy

AutoTrader focused its outreach during the summer months to reach its target demographic during baseball season, which is also the peak car buying time, says Soon Mee Kim, SVP at Porter Novelli. By bringing branded gear, including a Chevy Tahoe, to each game, the company hoped to drive traffic to its site and generate awareness about the new car offering.

 

Tactics

AutoTrader brought in Rich “Goose” Gossage, a Hall of Fame pitcher, to sign fact sheets about the new car offering at baseball games in the company's Tier 1 markets, notes Kathy Rauschenberg, director of corporate communications at AutoTrader. “We wanted to expose our message to consumers,” she says. The company also held baseball clinics for local children prior to six MLB games and created a microsite to provide information about the campaign and the new car offering, Kim adds.


Results

New car searches on the AutoTrader Web site increased by 15.7% compared to 2007, according to Mark Scott, senior manager of media relations for AutoTrader. National media coverage included the Best Damn Sports Show Period, The Hot List on ESPN, and MLB.com, as well as local coverage on Good Morning Chicago, Good Day Atlanta, and other local affiliates.

Future

AutoTrader plans to continue raising awareness about its new car offering through branded efforts, Rauschenberg says.

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