RealTime IT News

AutoTrader.com Hopes To Score With $40 Million Ad Campaign

Despite canceling its plans for a $65 million IPO last November, Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, Inc. is ready to spend what it takes to make the online car buying/selling service a household name. The company will spend $40 million in an advertising campaign set to launch early this year.

Turner Network's coverage of the NBA will feature AutoTrader.com ads, as will CBS Sports' coverage of NCAA basketball, including the Final Four and Championship games. Fox will also feature AutoTrader.com ads during its coverage of NASCAR events.

AutoTrader.com dropped a pretty penny last year during Super Bowl XXXIV, when it spent an estimated $2 million for its 30-second ad. But the firm said its marketing strategy has been changed, with more money now budgeted for ongoing sports sponsorships, instead of one-day events.

"As we have seen from the recent dot-com shakeout, it is tough to build an online business without having a memorable brand supported by strong, ongoing advertising," Chip Perry, AutoTrader.com CEO and president, said.

Southfield, Mich.-based Doner will be the advertising agency handling the new promos.

AutoTrader.com was formed in 1997 as a majority-owned subsidiary of Manheim Auctions Inc. Manheim, a Cox Enterprises subsidy, is AutoTrader's principal stockholder. Other investors include Trader Publishing Co., ADP Inc., eBay Inc. and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Fauve Yandel is managing editor of atlanta.internet.com.