Automotive advertising.

What are the first things that come to mind? I’m pretty sure it might be those “Buy! Buy! Buy!” commercials. You know, the ones with excessive amounts of words flashing on screen, a loud screamo guy who’s about to break a blood vessel on his forehead and that wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man in the background.

Oh, yes. You know what I’m talking about. There are plenty of those kinds of ads on the market. And we’ve seen the likes of them all too much.

But as an automotive advertising copywriter, or as a dealership looking for an exceptional copywriter, you want MORE than just the norm.

How exactly do you do that?

The key is balance: A balance between what you think you need and what you actually need.

“Help me help you. Help me help you.”

Advertising is not the end-all, be-all when it comes to making a sale. However, advertising is the means to get those people in the doors of your dealership, making a call, viewing your website or sending you an email.

Working with an advertising agency can be a pleasant experience for everyone involved. It’s all about keeping an open line of communication and setting down clear expectations.

Automotive advertising agencies know a LOT about cars. But you live and breathe cars! Just because we’re the “creative guys” and might think differently than you do, your guidance and expectations will help form your advertising. As much as us agency guys enjoy some creative freedom, it is ultimately cost ineffective for both you and your agency when things go into the realms of “What the [email protected] were you thinking?!”

Trust me. Letting us know what you have in mind saves everyone headaches. I’m sure you’re not worried about speaking up, but you may be concerned about how to start on the right foot, creatively speaking. So, where do you go from here?

Let’s start with monthly events.

As a Tier III dealership, you need to keep in mind what your manufacturer’s advertising happens to be this month. Your first decision is whether or not you need or want to base your advertising off of the corporate event.

Take Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram’s Summer Clearance Event. To pass co-op guidelines, your television ads must have a visual and spoken mention of this event. In radio, you must have the audio mention of the event. Without it, your dealership won’t be getting the co-op funds you like to see.

So, here’s where you make some choices: How much of your advertising would you like to see following this event? Will you revolve your advertising around the Summer Clearance Event? Or will you give it a twist, like our Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram 24’s Summer Sale-a-bration?

What do YOU want to accomplish?

One factor that might determine whether you go with the corporate event or not: Your goals for this month.

Were your sales lower than expected last month, or were they higher? Do you have extra inventory in a specific kind of vehicle? Could your advertising be seasonal (e.g. Black Friday, Fourth of July, Christmas, Presidents’ Day, etc.)?

You know your dealership best. If you have certain numbers you’d like to hit or if you’d like to reach a certain type of customers, relay that to your agency. Together you’ll be able to craft a message that is right for your unique needs.

Also, be aware of your competitors and what they’re doing, but don’t be afraid to march to the beat of your own drum! Maybe it’s unimportant that Joe Schmo down the street is doing a sale on trucks, but maybe this is an opportunity to beat him at his own game!

Your creative team can come up with totally fantastic, out-of-the-box ideas, but if they don’t have anything to do with what YOU want to achieve, they are pointless.

Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S.)

All too often, we can have extraordinary, but vague, creative ideas. Sometimes we see things on TV, for things that might not even be in the same industry, and we think, “Wow! I love that! How can I do that?” Feeling inspired and finding inspiration anywhere can be very beneficial! But how do you make it any way effective for your dealership?

Manage your own expectations. Will this break the budget? Is this doable with my agency? How much time do we have to approve everything, produce it and show it to the world? Don’t let yourself get ahead of yourself and don’t let your agency get ahead of yourself!

Your agency brings a special kind of expertise and so do you. Work as partners and use each other as sounding boards. If it’s an idea you have your heart set on, allow for a reasonable amount of time to execute it instead of rushing things and take your agency’s advice into consideration.

Working with an advertising agency as opposed to doing it yourself has its benefits and difficulties; however, if you go about things the right way, there are bound to be more advantages and less challenges. Consider what your goals are, explain it to your agency and then let the creativity go wild.

Or…you can stick with loud, screamy in-your-face advertising like the other guys.