Virginia Shop Drives Away With Carfax

Carfax, a growing vehicle history service in Fairfax, Va., has moved its $1 million-plus advertising account closer to home following a review.
Williams Whittle Associates in Alexandria, Va., won the Carfax advertising business, which had been at Richmond, Va.-based Cadmus/O’Keefe since last summer [Adweek, Aug. 4, 1997].
Scott Fredericks, consumer marketing director at Carfax, said Williams Whittle was chosen over four undisclosed contenders in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area because the agency saw the client’s growth potential.
“Carfax is going to be the Kleenex of the used car industry,” said Fredericks. The company’s database currently has more than 500 million vehicle records, and expects that number to hit one billion by the year 2000.
Although Carfax has advertised to auto dealers, credit unions, banks and vehicle auctions, Williams Whittle’s charge is to “launch us into the consumer marketplace,” Fredericks said. “We’ll be doing some market tests in the next six to nine months.”
Williams Whittle president Rob Whittle said the shop presented no spec creative. “They bought us on the basis of our brain power,” he said.
The agency’s category experience includes current client Capital Area Volvo Dealer Group.
Calling itself a “computerized background check” for used automobiles, Carfax can reveal such hidden potential problems as whether a car has ever been totaled in a road accident or titled as a flood vehicle. Reports can be obtained for $12.50 through the company’s World Wide Web site at