Chicago—January 28, 2008—Cars.com, the leading online destination for car shoppers, announced today that it will leverage its Feb. 3 Super Bowl debut to kick off an all-new integrated marketing campaign, "Car Shopping Confidence." Developed to reposition the Cars.com brand and drive broader awareness of how the site prepares car shoppers before they head to the dealership, the campaign will be backed by a $200 million marketing investment, the largest in company history.
"2008 will be a breakout year for the Cars.com brand as we make a significant marketing investment to extend awareness of the site and differentiate Cars.com from other car-shopping destinations," said Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com. "With all-new creative featuring our new brand message, the Super Bowl offers the ultimate media opportunity to introduce our campaign to the more-than 90 million viewers expected to tune in."
Cars.com will run two 30-second spots in the big game, during the first and third quarters, to introduce its new campaign, which was created and produced by DDB Chicago. The spots airing during the game, "Stone Circle" and "Witch Doctor," both take place at a dealership and use humor to showcase the interaction between car shoppers and dealers. As the shoppers close in on their purchase of a new car, they are confident in their decision and express how easy their car-shopping experience was thanks to the preparation they did on Cars.com. Their preparation keeps them from resorting to outrageous "Plan B" scenarios they initially thought they would need to implement in order to get what they wanted from the dealer. For example, one ad features a shopper who brings along a warrior he had planned to have motivate the dealer if things had not gone his way. The ads close with Cars.com's new tagline, Confidence Comes Standard.
"The campaign was built on the insight that many consumers find the car-shopping process stressful and want to be armed with information before visiting a dealership," said Carolyn Crafts, Cars.com's vice president of marketing. "Buying a car is a significant consumer investment, second only to buying a home, and consumers want to feel confident they have made the right purchase decision. Our new campaign demonstrates how Cars.com gives consumers the confidence to make informed decisions using the site's credible and easy-to-understand research tools and advice."
From its unbiased consumer and expert reviews to its dealer locator and pricing tools, Cars.com offers comprehensive research tools and advice that help shoppers formulate their own opinion on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. A recent survey among car buyers demonstrated how preparation on Cars.com led to a positive buying experience: According to the survey, more than two-thirds of Cars.com shoppers were confident they got a good deal on their car and attributed that confidence more to their online preparation than to any other source. Of those shoppers, 76 percent also noted having a positive experience with their salesperson. In fact, 30 percent of shoppers said they felt like they got the royal treatment - red carpet and all - which is a significant departure from traditional car-shopping stereotypes.
"We want to educate shoppers that Cars.com has all the information they need to take control of the shopping process," Golub said. "The Super Bowl gives us a platform to get that message out in a big way, but it's just the starting point of a year-long campaign. We plan to surround consumers with our new message on air, in print and online to let them know Cars.com gives them everything they need to confidently buy a new or used car."
Immediately following the game, Cars.com will launch an interactive campaign on its website, where consumers can interact with the brand by watching the new commercials and engaging with characters featured in the ads. Also created by DDB Chicago, the interactive destination takes place in a dealership waiting room. It features campaign characters who are no longer needed to assist car shoppers at the dealership because those shoppers have prepared on Cars.com. The characters are seen in a series of entertaining video vignettes as well as in customizable email messages that consumers can send to help them negotiate other situations in their lives.
In addition to the interactive Waiting Room, Cars.com will leverage new online creative on top websites such as Yahoo!, MySpace and YouTube to build on Super Bowl momentum. The new interactive banners feature campaign characters and position Cars.com as the way to buy a car with confidence. Cars.com's local affiliate network of 175 leading newspapers and television stations will also back the campaign on their leading websites, many dedicating homepage takeovers scheduled to run following the Super Bowl. These markets will further the impact of the national campaign by running full-page print executions that are also closely integrated with the television campaign.
"We are confident that our largest-ever national marketing campaign, local promotional power and a leading online distribution network, including a recently launched partnership with Yahoo! Autos, will deliver unprecedented results for our business," Golub said. "The investment we are making to develop both the Cars.com brand and product will drive more high-quality, ready-to-buy customers to Cars.com and, ultimately, to our advertising partners."
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible and easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy, and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new and used car inventory, Cars.com puts more than 8 million unique visitors who log on to the site each month in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).