Unleash the Secret Advertising Play of the Auto Industry


In just a few weeks, consumers will be hit by one of the biggest advertising events of the year—the Super Bowl. Advertisers spend millions of dollars each year to have their content run during one of the most watched events on TV. Many of them spend millions more just to create the ad. They hope to stand out and be talked about for days and weeks to come.

Unfortunately, this kind of spending is cost prohibitive for most local dealerships, but it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve similar ad notoriety and recognition. There’s a secret play the auto industry rarely talks about and even fewer use: free, high-quality content.

Currently, there is a huge gap between good and bad ads—especially in the industry. Most are either factory and cheap (think horrible stock images) or custom (a.k.a. very expensive). There’s not much in-between. The high-end ads tend to come from the manufacturers, while dealerships put together what they think they can with their limited budgets. This doesn’t have to be the case.

The benefit of working within a franchise system like the auto industry is that there is a lot of support for individual dealerships coming from the manufacturer down. There’s a lot of high-quality, free creative available. It is high-yield, national content and it’s aligned with the vehicles you are selling. It breaks through the clutter because it’s different. Best of all, much of the creative is already approved for use—meaning you and your dealership can use it without spending an extra dime for filming.

Unfortunately, ads created by franchises and franchise manufacturers are vastly underutilized. This means lots of wasted dollars and ads that don’t contribute to sales goals. This year, you can resolve to change that by using the content that others have already spent the money to create.

How do you access it? Your advertising team will need to do some digging to find out what is approved. Be sure your ad lead makes free content a regular part of their conversation. Often you will need to work with OEM representatives, but most of the content is already approved for usage. If it isn’t, it’s typically pretty easy to get the approval. After all, you’re in the clear to use the creative, and reap the rewards.

Once you know what free content is available to you, you can customize your ads to work for you. Combine solid messaging with great visuals and you’ll be ready to break through the clutter. Add to this a great multi-channel strategy, pump up the frequency and you’ll soon have even more customers knocking down your doors.

A Super Bowl ad may not be reality for you this year, but you can still score a touchdown by utilizing free content to make your ads effective and memorable. That’s a winning game plan no one can argue with.

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