Zambezi Promotes Autotrader as Vehicular Hookup Site

By Erik Oster 

Zambezi launched a new spot for Autotrader that takes a slightly different approach for the category.

The site’s search windows popping up as people’s vehicle choices change with different events in their life is nothing new, but the vaguely Tinder-esque nature of its narrative and positioning of the brand as a sort of vehicular hookup site is.

The 60-second “Concert” is built around a somewhat hard to follow narrative surrounding a young guy and girl both unsatisfied with their current choice of vehicles (and in her case, also her boyfriend), who end up driving off together after randomly meeting (and not saying a word?) at a concert.

That story is sort of tied to the brand’s message in a blatant attempt to appeal to millennial audiences by likening its product to “auto tinder,” though people presumably want a car that will last longer than their Tinder hookup. The spot is also closely tied to its musical selection, Sjowgren’s “Seventeen.”

“We wanted to create a story with a strong music track at its core,” Zambezi executive creative director Josh DiMarcantonio explained to AdFreak. “We got to talking and realized we all had memorable and unexpected encounters at or on the way to music festivals. We liked the idea of randomly finding love at one of them and having the song become the soundtrack of their meeting.” 

“One of our ACDs, Ben George, came across ‘Seventeen’ by Sjowgren through a Spotify search,” he added. “At the time, the band still had full-time day jobs, less than 100,000 plays and a four-song EP. By the time the commercial was finished, ‘Seventeen’ was up to 7.7 million plays. The band is now transitioning to become full-time musicians and working on its first album.”

Client: Autotrader
Agency: Zambezi
Founder + CEO: Chris Raih
Executive Creative Director: Josh DiMarcantonio
Associate Creative Director: Ben George
Associate Creative Director: Nick Rodgers
Sr. Art Director: Max Pollak
Sr. Copywriter: Brian Hallisey
Jr. Art Director: Sean Jackson
Managing Director: Pete Brown
Head of Content: Alex Cohn
Producer: Andrew Gage
Account Director: Matt Kline
Account Supervisor: Lauren Bondell
Account Executive: Tori Tessalone
Chief Strategy Officer: Kristina Jenkins
Group Strategy Director: Ryan Richards
Production Company: The Directors’ Bureau
Director: M Blash
Director of Photography: Jas Shelton
Production Designer: Noel McCarthy
Executive Producer: Elizabeth Minzes
Line Producer: Benjamin Gilovitz
Post Production: Blink Studios
Editor: Ling Ly
Assistant Editors: Sasha Perry & Paul Oh
Audio: Blink Studios
Audio Mixer/Designer: John Reese
Color: MPC
Executive Producer: Meghan Lang
Producer: Rebecca Boorsman
Colorist: Mark Gethin
VFX: Zoic Studios
Executive Producer: Ian Unterreiner
Producer: Alyssa Evans
Flame Artist: Adam Flynn
Song: “Seventeen”
Composed and Performed by Sjowgren