By September, four out of every five U.S. TV viewers will have been exposed to a marketing message from AutoTrader.com.
The Web site, which publishes automotive classified ads placed by dealers and consumers, is making its biggest media buy.
Clark Wood, AutoTrader.com's vice president of marketing, says the company's 2006 advertising budget is 30 percent higher than last year's. He would not disclose that budget or say what AutoTrader.com is spending on the media blitz.
The campaign features two 30-second TV commercials. It also includes a consumer sweepstakes, online tie-ins and sponsorship of popular TV shows.
Wood told Automotive News that the media plan will enable
AutoTrader.com to move beyond traditional TV advertising. The campaign also is targeting women, he says. The company's previous ad buys were heavily skewed to reach young men, he says.
"We're looking for a lot of integrated placements," Wood says. "We've done some (similar) things in the past, but not on this scale."
The AutoTrader.com site attracts about 11 million visitors a month. Wood declined to predict how many additional site users the advertising campaign is expected to attract.
The campaign includes spots on 11 broadcast and cable TV networks. Besides buying commercial time,
AutoTrader.com plans to partner with networks on promotions.
The company plans to sponsor a sweepstakes on the MTV auto-enthusiast show "Pimp My Ride." The winner will get $25,000 to buy a vehicle listed on the Web site. The vehicle will be customized on the TV show.
AutoTrader.com also is conducting a sweepstakes with Lifetime, a cable network geared to women. The network's Web site will include tips about how to buy and sell a vehicle. The contest winner will get $5,000 toward the purchase of a vehicle listed on AutoTrader.com.
AutoTrader.com also will sponsor a series on the TNT cable network, "Nightmares & Dreamscapes," based on the work of horror novelist Stephen King. The sponsorship includes an online trivia contest. The winner will get a trip to the settings of episodes of the TV show.
The company is sponsoring the series finales of "The West Wing" and "Will & Grace" and the season finales of "My Name is Earl" and "Crossing Jordan." All air on NBC.
The AutoTrader campaign also will advertise on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on ABC.
AutoTrader.com has 2.8 million vehicle listings from 40,000 dealerships and 250,000 private owners.
You may e-mail Arlena Sawyers at [email protected]