The most fearful marketers on the dealers?

>Walter Koschnitzke has touched a nerve with me in his Branding Ad Vice blog. His latest post on auto advertising is basically what I’ve felt for more than 20 years. In my comment, I write that I feel automotive dealers, as a group, are the most fearful marketers on the planet.

Hyperbole? Maybe. But I can count on two fingers the number of auto retailers in central Iowa that have tried to be different, inviting and relevant in the past 20 years. And one of those was a one-time shot that was soon replaced by spots screaming prices.

The other is Karl Chevrolet. If you’ve seen a Karl Chevrolet television spot, you know it’s a little like a lot of others because it features the owner, in this case Carl Moyer, and his family, but Karl spots look better than other car commercials. They focus on the Karl Chevrolet experience and the things the dealer does to make that experience something different. Sometimes the ads feature family members, like this one from this past Christmas season. Even it tells a story in an unexpected manner. The rest of the Karl experience is different, too. The company extended Chevy’s “Like a rock” theme by placing a huge rock at its entrance and perching a vehicle at the top (see the website header). The dealership features a golf hole (bring your clubs) and a walking trail (bring your walking shoes) in case you need to think before you sign that paper for a $45,000 SUV. And, perhaps most important, they feature convenient services hours six days a week – Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – and have round-trip shuttle service! That’s different, inviting and relevant.

Karl, the dealership, takes chances like its owner, Carl, a race car driver. Maybe more dealers ought to drive race cars before they try to sell sedans.

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One Response to The most fearful marketers on the dealers?

  1. aaron says:

    >They also tried 24hr repair service. Not sure if they still do that. Also I believe the golf is gone too, they recently moved a whole pond to pave for more cars.In my opinion they are only on the “fringe” of different and relevant (which I suppose is enough for his industry) and the experience at the shop is very typical of any other dealer.I see the real difference is that Karl is not afraid to spend a few dollars to advertise like some of his counterparts.This industry is a long way from relevant. I think you have to be trustworthy to obtain that status.

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