Hill, Holliday And Autonation USA ‘Make It Easy’ In $40 Mil. Ad Blitz

AutoNation USA tunes up its selling proposition and stresses hassle-free used car buying in a print and broadcast effort that broke last week. The tagline: “We make it easy.”
The $40 million campaign created by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston is scheduled to run through the end of the year.
Consigned to the scrap heap is last year’s tagline, “The better way to buy a car,” which graced the first campaign from Hill, Holliday for the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based chain of used car superstores.
“That was our introduction to the category and the business,” explained John Drury, senior vice president and chief creative officer of AutoNation. Consumer research showed that the old positioning was too open-ended and raised the obvious question, “How is it better?” said Drury.
The new ads “make the benefit more specific” by explaining how AutoNation makes every aspect of buying used cars simple and stress-free, he said.
One television commercial features portraits of people who somewhat resemble their cars. “Your car is who you are,” the voiceover says. “So before you test-drive another used car . . . test-drive AutoNation USA.”
Along with a quartet of 30-second TV spots, radio, print and direct marketing executions began rolling out last week. Ads will run in the 15 U.S. markets where AutoNation has a store, including Atlanta; Cincinnati; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Phoenix; and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa/Clearwater, Fla.
The TV spots will appear on early morning, prime time and late night programs such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, Seinfeld and the Late Show With David Letterman. Print executions will appear in metropolitan area newspapers.
Hill, Holliday president and chief creative officer Fred Bertino served as creative director for the campaign. Dick Pantano was the art director. Joe Berkeley wrote the copy.
The client spent about $20 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The budget has been doubled this year as AutoNation looks to promote its 26 retail stores. Last year at this time, AutoNation maintained only six locations, Drury said.