Driver's Mart Worldwide takes a customer-focused approach to advertising as it prepares to launch its used-car superstore.
The company kicks off the first regional brand campaign this month for its fledgling chain. It expects to open six new stores across the United States in the coming months, having opened one outlet last fall in Neenah, Wis.
DRIVER'S MART ETHIC
'The Driver's Mart idea is entirely driven by the customer; so is the Driver's Mart advertising,' said Kevin O'Neill, president of the Warwick Baker & O'Neill advertising agency in New York. The tagline - 'A nearly new car. A brand new experience' -'captures the Driver's Mart ethic,' he said.
The one TV spot, still in production, should be done in a few weeks. But five spread ads tout that new experience. Each print ad focuses on one benefit, such as no-haggle prices, wide selection and one-year warranty.
The ads resemble Hal Riney & Partners' print work for Saturn Corp. in both appearance and tone.
The spread ads will be used primarily as bundled newspaper inserts because 'they capture the whole story' of Driver's Mart, O'Neill said. They also will run individually in regional editions of national magazines and in local magazines.
Driver's Mart President Thomas Eggleston said he did not have details on 1997 ad spending, but the company has said it expects the figure to reach $75 million during its first three years.
The campaign's success is vital to Warwick, which agreed to base its compensation on vehicle sales. Warwick gets fees based on labor costs for servicing the account.
The agency also developed in-store displays, brochures, the logo, banners and outdoor advertising.
Warwick presented much of the final creative while pitching the account last year, although some was revised. 'Our arrow flew very near the bull's eye in the pitch,' O'Neill said.
Tom Groves, chief planning officer at Warwick, said all Driver's Mart materials convey the same concept.
The agency will do either focus groups or telephone surveys to track brand awareness and ad effectiveness in each market, Groves said. The target is middle-income adults, 25 and older, who have owned a couple of cars.
WOOING NEW-CAR DEALERS
The chain wooed existing new-car dealers, who are opening freestanding stores. The Birmingham, Ala., outlet is scheduled to open next, around July 1. Other markets on tap are Flint, Mich.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Indianapolis; Salt Lake City; and Tucson, Ariz.
In Wisconsin, its first market, Driver's Mart used different ads, developed earlier on a tight timetable and budget, said O'Neill.