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July 05, 2006


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Brad Shorr

Much truth in what you say! Last week I got a letter from Lexus that looked like a wedding invitation. It told me Lexus had created a personal Web site for me where I could get a sneak preview of the new LS-460. Well, it was more sneak than preview--a handful of photos that didn't show anything and some slick copy that didn't say anything. I don't get it: without this hype they could probably knock $5,000 off the sticker.

At the same time, I think car dealers have a huge opportunity to use their Web site to attract business. I just interviewed a Toyota dealer who's getting tons of qualified leads through their site. The dealer told me the site is helping them build better relationships with customers. Why? Because customers and the dealer are more comfortable making initial contact via email--not as awkward and/or confrontational. The coming explosion in on-line geo-targeted search is a potential bonanza for car dealers. Let's hope they don't follow the example of the car makers.

Mike Sigers

Back in April I wrote - " If we didn’t absolutely need vehicles, most car dealers would have no shot at staying in business. They have to be the shoddiest of the lot. The dumbest. The laziest.

They continue to change campaigns every other week and the deal that they gave me last week is replaced by a “ better “ deal this week. Like Dr. Phil would say, “ How’s that workin’ for you ? “ Not very well, for me, thank you. I was there with money in hand and you told me it was gonna be the best deal for the year. Now, 2 weeks later, there’s a bazillion dollar rebate, free upgrade on the squirrel tail on the antenna and free fuzzy dice for my rear view mirror. Think I’m gonna go back there next time ? Nope.

How about this instead. Take the time to mail a coupon for a free car wash or detailing to current customers. Maybe an Owners Only key ring ? A hat ? Special T-shirt ? Think that’ll bring me back next time ? Or have a catered dinner for current customers, showing them next years models BEFORE everybody else can see them. Bring in a few and put them in a secret location and only invite those that have bought from you in the past. "

Your post was even better and I enjoy your blog immensely. Thanks for saying what we're all thinking !

Owen Lystrup

Further notice to ALL carmakers:

Your TV ads suck too!

With exception of maybe Volkswagen.

Wake up and start making something different rather than the same B roll of a car driving down a lonely city street or the same picturesque country highway.

I liken this to something I heard Bruce Lee say about his martial arts style: "Don't move for the sake of moving! Relationship...relationship."


Right on David!

Not only their web site sucks, but also their cars' interior design sucks.

I recently test drove the Mercury Hybrid SUV and I was so disapointed with the interior design. What I find is that the auto makers are not paying attention to small details in interior and exterior of their cars anymore. They just want to make it look flashy but without real quality. This also extends to their web site. Lots of flashy ads and offers in a site makes their site just a junkie advertisement space.

However, the Japanese car makers are doing some things right, especially their web sites. Checkout http://automobiles.honda.com/ and you will see how its different than the Big Three's web site.

Dr. Z

I beg to differ. The Doctor Z ads SUCK even more than the websites. Who is this Dr. Z who is making it impossible to buy one of thier cars without feeling like a fool.

Dr. Z Sucks!


Wow, I love this article, a lot of truth to it. This coming from some one who does advertising creative for one of the big 3. Yes, the model is spend a crap load on broadcast and let the creatives take a crack at the web stuff. Only a few creatives understand marketing in the fist place, and even fewer understand how to wield new media with any kind of affect. And using them together... The thing people don't understand about advertising is that it is not entertainment or art. It is a marketing vehicle that is constrained by money inorder to make money.
So, creative ideas are usually shaped by the anxiety and desires of corporate decision makers who want to move the bottom line more than make you entertained.

If all I had to do is entertain you in order to sell cars, my life would be soooo cooool. and way easy.


You make some excellent and very valid points here about the inadequacies of automotive advertising. I especially appreciated your sharing your personal experience. I was shocked that they never emailed you, something you were clearly inviting and they were clearly ignoring!


your website suck it has to much writing on

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