October 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Cars.com steers advertising to the Super Bowl

Years after early Internet retailers famously overspent on Super Bowl TV advertising, causing others to avoid the medium, Cars.com is betting that Super Bowl XLII will be the perfect venue for launching its 2008 marketing campaign. Its commercial will be handled by the same creative team at ad agency DDB Chicago that has produced Super Bowl ads for brewer Anheuser Busch.

After spending millions earlier in the decade for Super Bowl television advertising that didn’t produce customers, e-commerce companies have generally passed on the pricey spots. But Cars.com is betting that Super Bowl XLII on the Fox Network is the perfect venue for launching its 2008 marketing campaign.

“Advertising on the Super Bowl gives Cars.com a way to kick off that campaign in a big way, reaching an expected 90 million viewers who will tune in live,” says Mitch Golub, president. “We are making a significant investment to move the Cars.com brand forward and draw even more new and used car shoppers to the site in 2008.”

Cars.com isn’t saying what it’s spending on the Super Bowl, but the ad is part of the company’s announced plan to increase advertising spending overall by more than 50% in 2008. That includes an integrated media campaign that will run nationally through the year. Supporting the national campaign will be the Cars.com network, where local newspapers, TV stations and their web sites both contribute listings to Cars.com and also promote Cars.com in their respective outlets.

Cars.com’s ad program next year includes plans to boost online advertising. It’s already announced an exclusive multi-year agreement with Yahoo Autos in which more than 2 million pre-owned and new car listings from Cars.com will appear on Yahoo Autos.

With a few exceptions such as the ad featuring a sock puppet touting the now-defunct Pets.com, the ads for e-commerce sites that ran on earlier Super Bowl broadcasts were panned by analysts as not measuring up to the creative offered up by more experienced Super Bowl advertisers. In that knowledge, Cars.com isn’t taking any chances. A spokeswoman says the ad will be produced by the company’s long-term agency, DDB Chicago, and handled by a creative team that has produced Super Bowl advertising for clients such as brewer Anheuser Busch.


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