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Advance Auto Parts Wants Ads That Reflect Its Growth

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Fogarty Klein Monroe is launching an effort to brand Advance Auto Parts, which has added 700-plus stores in the last two years.

The Dallas shop's first campaign for the client, which breaks today, offers a new positioning and tagline, and original music.

One 30-second spot opens with images of men driving their cars, fixing them in their garages and standing alongside broken-down autos. The commercial cuts to the inside of a product-packed Advance store filled with smiling salespeople. A voiceover says, "The road is calling, so bring it on. We're ready in advance." Other executions maintain the look and tone but are product-specific for batteries, oil and filters.

The new tagline is, "We're ready in Advance," which replaces, "The best part is our people." "We felt the new line would be a much better branded way to talk about Advance," said vp and creative director Tom Gates. "This is a line they can own, and it says a lot about the company."

FKM created a fast-paced score that plays during the campaign's four 30-second and four 15-second TV commercials, as well as in radio spots.

Previous work from The Martin Agency, which took a humorous approach, mimicked home videos.

In the last two years, Roanoke, Va.-based Advance has added 668 Discount Auto Parts stores and nearly 50 Trak Auto Parts sites, most of which are being converted and rebranded under the Advance name. AutoZone leads the crowded category with 3,098 outlets, while Advance is second with 2,435.

"Advance is a company that has grown tremendously in the last number of years, and they needed a campaign that reflects that," Gates said. "Other campaigns ... didn't reflect the national player they had become."

For the 2002 fiscal year, Advance sales rose about 30 percent to approximately $3.3 billion from $2.5 billion last year. Same-store sales have risen about 6 percent this year, compared with 6 percent last year, according to company documents.

According to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, the auto aftermarket is a $180 billion industry that grew nearly 5 percent from 2000-01.

Somewhat counterintuitively, one of the reasons for the growth is that automakers are making better vehicles, AAIA analyst Tchad Moore said. As a result, drivers keep their cars longer and need more maintenance products. That's proved a boon for Advance and other retailers that target both do-it-yourselfers and "do-it-for-me" consumers, who buy parts and pay for installation, Moore said.

As more car buyers view their purchases as long-term investments, Moore said, aftermarket retailers have to strengthen their brands and create long-term relationships with drivers.

To target Advance's primarily 25- to 54-year-old male consumer, the campaign will run largely on cable stations such as ESPN, TNN and Fox Sports, and radio networks like Westwood One and Premiere.

Sources estimated the account at $55 million when FKM won the business in November.