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AUTONATION TO LAUNCH $16 MILLION AD CAMPAIGN FOR CANCER RESEARCH, BOWL GAME

By: Amy Wilson

Automotive News


September 5, 2015 – 12:01 am ET — UPDATED: 9/9/15 5:06 pm ET

AutoNation plans to launch a $16 million advertising campaign this month designed to raise money for breast cancer research and promote the retailer’s sponsorship of a college football bowl game.

The “Drive Pink” campaign begins Sept. 14 and includes heavy television advertising with national spots on CNBC and college football programming. It runs through Nov. 3. AutoNation will then switch to what it calls its “Sales Drive” campaign that will have a heavier sales component and will serve as a lead-up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a college football game being held Dec. 19 in Orlando. All net proceeds from the game will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon said the campaign will enhance the AutoNation brand now being used nationwide by the country’s largest new-car retailer.

“It’s another way of engaging our customer,” Cannon said. “Whatever we do, we want to make sure it’s tied in with things that matter to people.”

Cancer fund-raising has been a major commitment for AutoNation for the last two years. Everyone in the company seems to have a personal story around cancer, Cannon said. “It is amazing the rally we get in our company around it.”

As part of Drive Pink, AutoNation will place a pink license plate frame on the back of every vehicle sold or serviced and will ask customers if they want to donate to breast cancer research. AutoNation will match the first $10 donated per service customer and the first $100 donated per vehicle sales customer. The company is pledging to donate at least $1 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through the Drive Pink campaign. Customers also will have opportunities to win tickets and travel packages to attend the Cure Bowl.

TV commercials will focus on the pink plates, and one will show children riding in a car playing an I Spy-type game spotting the plates. In November, the commercials will have a football theme to promote the bowl game. The campaign also includes digital, print, social media and direct mail pieces. During the month of October, the downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla., street running up to AutoNation’s headquarters will be painted pink.

DRIVE PINK – PINK PLATES

One component involves sending pink Converse tennis shoes to 211 VIPs, mostly in the auto industry, and asking them to post pictures of themselves wearing the shoes on social media with the hashtag #DrivePink. AutoNation is donating $1,000 to the foundation in each of the VIP’s names.

Drive Pink follows a $20 million campaign this spring and summer that was tied to the 10 millionth vehicle sold by AutoNation. AutoNation called that the company’s biggest ever campaign in terms of spending. AutoNation is planning to do two major campaigns each year — one in the spring and another in the fall — with spending in the $15 million to $20 million range for each