Some car ads are filled to the brim with technical functions and features in a way that only a single-minded engineer could love.
Others suggest that the specific car brand or model advertised should reflect the owner’s lifestyle, environmental conscience, social standing, or maybe generate endless admiration from the opposite sex. Others, again, set out to catch the spirit of on-the-road freedom, independence, and adventure.
This is nothing new of course, all of the above can be easily recognized in automobile ads from a century ago. Sometimes this non-technical kind of promotion is referred to as “brand advertising” or “branding” for short.
“The defined personality of a car”
The word “brand” dates way back to Old Norse, the ancient North Germanic language from which modern Scandinavian languages derived. Back then it referred to a piece of burning wood. Later it became associated with the use of sizzling hot “branding” irons to mark livestock with ranch symbols in the wild, wild west and elsewhere. And now it’s universally recognized (but rarely fully understood) in the world of advertising.
On Wikipedia you will easily find 30 or more definitions of modern-day branding, including: “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” Boring, but reasonably true.
According to David Ogilvy, known as the Father of modern advertising, branding is rather “the defined personality of a product, service, company, organization or individual”. That comes pretty close to the world’s first known car advert, promoting a vehicle from The Winton Motor Carriage Company in Cleveland, Ohio. (One of the first American companies to sell and advertise a motor car.)
Yes, the century-old Winton ad does highlight a number of features, but the main illustration shows the car on the road with the driver and passenger proudly enjoying the ride. And the all-important headline emphasizes the main buying motive: You don’t need a horse anymore! A rather modern approach when you think about it.
For good reasons, the manufacturer/importer traditionally invests in the car brand while the local retailer mainly focuses on down-to-earth sales promotion, particularly for used cars.
As car buyers increasingly search for information and guidance online, the value of and need for attractive, informative, and trustworthy retailer branding can be expected to increase.
This includes presenting every car in stock in the right way to yet unknown buyers strolling around your digital showroom for information and inspiration. That’s a pretty tall order. With automated video, you can combine more generous product information and style with the impact of leading edge technology and services.
And we are all human. Many car buyers care deeply about the environment, others want to support local sports, cultural or youth activities, and initiatives. Showing that you share and support any such cause or interest can also add value to your retailer brand, and be part of every single car video presentation too.