Clutch Uses NBA Talent and a Strange Guy to Sell Cars Right

By T.L. Stanley 

Kelly Olynyk just signed a contract extension with the Toronto Raptors that will keep the 6-foot-11-inch center on the team for another two years with a healthy $26.5 million package.

But when it comes to selling his car, the star player is just like any other mere mortal: stuck in a deserted garage listening to a stranger’s weird life story and haggling about the bottom line.

That scenario comes courtesy of Clutch, a fast-growing online used car retailer in Canada. In a just-launched pair of ads, Olynyk appears alongside a time-wasting, over-sharing potential buyer who turns the experience into a total cringe fest.


“That’s Clutch,” from agency Mint, debuts the brand’s NBA marketing partnership with the catchy tagline, “Avoid oddballs who lowball.” And while the concept is clever on its own, intending to reflect “the human perspective,” the execution is pitch perfect.

“Car commercials have been the same forever—they either walk through an eye-watering list of product benefits or show an overly dramatic depiction of a car scaling the Rockies at mach speed,” according to Mark Arvai, Clutch’s director of brand marketing, who said the brand’s new work, by contrast, “looks and feels refreshingly different.”

The target audience, the 25-55-year-old demo, relies on digital transactions for the convenience and anonymity, per the brand.

“Yet when it comes to buying cars, they’re still reluctantly dragging themselves to dealerships or meeting strangers in weird parking lots,” Kim Tarlo, executive creative director at Mint, said in a statement.

The campaign rolled out this week in Ontario and Nova Scotia across broadcast, digital, out of home and radio platforms.