The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 486 · 11 months ago

This Ad Won The Super Bowl w/ Whit Norrad


There's one time of year that we actually look forward to commercials, and that time of year is Super Bowl Sunday. It's a time when advertisers pull out all the stops and put forward their best effort to create a 30 second spot that captures attention, makes viewers feel something, and hope that whatever it is that they're promoting sticks. 

We got a lot of what we expected from the commercials. The usual celebrity placements, cinematic flair, humor, and of course car commercials. 

But there was a clear winner of the Super Bowl commercial this year, and their pitch was brilliant and simple. 

What we discuss in this episode:

  • Amidst what is now considered the status quo, coinbase dropped a QR code ad that peaked curiosity, engaged viewers in an activity, and allowed them to track immediate attribution while bypassing Apple and other companies who are blocking 3rd party pixels. 
  • Their ad, which featured a bouncing QR code which mimicked the old DVD symbol appeared between the usual ad placements. It peaked curiosity because there were no logos on the screen. Just a bouncing QR code. 
  • From curiousity came activity. We jumped out of our seats, opened our camera apps, and followed the code across the screen to try and scan it. 
  • Once scanned, we learned it was the company Coinbase, promoting their app. But instead of landing you on their app store placements, they brought you to a landing page where you likely picked up a tracking pixel. 
  • This simple ad moved Coinbase from the top 100 apps on the app store to the #2 placement, which eventually caused the app to crash. 
  • Dealers can advertise with this same level of simplicity. Think about it: Dealers spend most of their ad budgets advertising the one thing consumers already know about them. Then, they try and talk about how they are different which rarely sticks because they keep spending money to blend in and be the same as other automotive retailers.
  • With some simple out-of-the-box thinking dealers could have a more memorable impact in the community with more engaging advertising. 
  • Building relationships is the long-game play that will continue to work. 
  • Lange and Fetter Motors in Quinte West, Ontario do an excellent job at getting creative. They have a team member who dresses up as an "Elf on a Shelf" during the Christmas season and it has the community talking.
  • Toyota had some great ads that shared an emotional story that people could relate to. They won by not making it about them but keeping the focus on the people whose story's they told. In this way, Toyota demonstrates that they "get it." They know how to make someone else the hero they can align with versus them being the hero.

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This episode is brought to you by

They get dealership marketing so that you can get results. 

Let's be honest. You've tried the "others," but copy/paste marketing is lame. With Flex as your partner, you'll stand out the way you deserve. FINALLY!

Thanks, Whit Norrad!

If you enjoyed this conversation with Whit Norrad, please let them know by clicking on the links below and sending him a message.

  1. Click here to thank Whit Norrad on LinkedIn 
  2. Click here to let Michael know about your number one takeaway from this conversation

The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo and together we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealership and life in the retail automotive industry. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed to help you grow. This is the dealer playbook, all right. So this is going to be a little bit different than your average interview style episode because it was just the super bowl in the United States of Marica and of course, along with the Super Bowl comes a lot of highly anticipated commercials. I mean, this is big AD spending, and so I thought it would be kind of cool to talk about some of the ads that stood out to me and why, and, more importantly, what you could be thinking about from a dealership perspective in your local market. To stand out. Joining me is the director of client marketing strategy at flex dealer. She works on my team withney Noor. Ad What's going on? Just another day in the neighborhood, but also inundated with super bowl everything. So this is really interesting. Here's where I want to start. I want to obviously start with base, because there's so many things like we were just talking about this and I and and this is where I want to start. Coin base basically puts on a masterclass of what advertising can be and I want to I want to just speak through some of the things that stood out to me and I want to get your take. So, if you missed it, here's what you can anticipate during the Super Bowl. Cinematic, funny, Zany, cheesy humor. Right, a lot of things were born during Super Bowl ads, like Guy Co's cavemen and things that. We remember those and we remember the brand affiliation, and so you expect a lot of that. Movie previews, maybe different cuts of a movie preview that's coming up. There's building a lot of anticipation. All of that to say, advertisers spend gazillions of dollars on these ads and and we've come to, as the audience, expect a certain flavor. Well, we're watching the super bowl because my son is big into sports and and I don't know where, while he gets that from my wife's side of the family. But so we're watching the super bowl. It's really an excuse for me to eat junk food without feeling judged and out of nowhere with this. The screen goes dark and a Qr code with the song, and I think I found the song. It's called or. It's by Yon World, and I don't know how to describe this type of song, but it's from an album called Mr Bitcoin and it's just the the coin or. It's a Qr code bouncing on the screen like the old DVD logo from back in the day. And immediately what happens? I get curious. I'm like, a Qr Code? What? Then? Then my wife gets curious and then we start talking about how there's a Qr code to music and it's every time it bounces off a side of the screen it changes colors. So what does my wife do? She gets up, she starts following around the Qr code to scan it, and that's when we realize it's coin base. Well, here's what's brilliant about this. I want to I want to draw some things. First, it stood out amidst a see of what we anticipated. Everything was the same. Everything's funny and I love them and you know there's some feel goods, but you expect that. What you don't expect is a black screen with a Qr code and some, you know, cool music bands bouncing around your screen. So it immediately peaks your cure, it immediately stands out, it immediately peaks your curiosity, it...

...immediately moves you to action. There's an activity involved all of a sudden. And then, because it's a Qr Code on traditional medium, there's an immediate attribution in this mixed media model from true, quote unquote, traditional format to digital format. And what happens on the back end of this coin base goes from like one hundred and eighty something in the APP store to number two and it crashes their APP. And so what stands out to me is just all of these factors combined. Here we are, days later, still I'm still talking about it, but, more importantly, I'm still remembering how I felt in the exact moment that I consumed such a simple thing. And so now, I guess, with that premise, I guess what I want to say is think about this in terms of dealership marketing. Right. So, for those of you listening, think about how what you're advertising looks like. Think about how we spend most of our money advertising. The thing that my eight year old daughter knows that you do already and think about how you spend money telling people you're different but saying it to them the same way that everybody else says it. And perhaps maybe there are, maybe, just maybe there are things we could be doing to strip away the clutter and stand apart from the pack and do it in very clever so I wouldn't be surprised, seriously, I won't be surprised if they paid some dude on fiver like fifteen bucks to be like, you know, they found a Gig on fiber that was like I will take your Qr Code and animate it like the old DVD Logan. There they're like hey, yeah, Lee, so wit. What are your thoughts about the coin base commercial? What stood out to you? What what lessons, if any, did you glean from from that? The first thing that immediately stuck out is there was one thing they missed, and I don't know if everybody who listens may or may not be familiar with the office, but there was a whole episode where they chased the DVD thing around the TV as it bounced. That would have been a really cool tie in where, especially where we had the sopranos tie in, which I didn't think was very impressive. So that happened. But outside of that, everybody's going, Oh, this is super trackable, this is something where, yeah, there's an immediate effect, we track it, they land we have it, they've they've done the thing, they've landed on the landing page. I think what's more beautiful and more of a lesson is that there's actually a huge, intangible piece of this. We're having this conversation. How many organic searches did they get their trending on twitter, all of these things there's sure there's a metric associated with them, but you can't track the the word of mouth, and I think that's almost the more important lesson, is that they've generated all this hype and all this buzz and now they're going to be in the consideration set of APPs the people may or may not use when dealing with Crypto, but they're there and they might not have been before. Can they track that? Can they assign them one to one dollar value to that? Nope. Yeah, just goes to show the the the importance of understanding mixed medium modeling and what we mean by that. And it's, you know, just a very basic form is tracking effectively the customer journey across various channels and not relating everything to just a one, two one. Oh, I ran an ad on facebook, how might didn't get any leads. They're considering everything you just said, the intangibles, like the fact that we're talking about it pretty much. I'm sure this week majority of I would be shocked if majority of marketing podcasts are not talking about the Super Bowl commercials and that one in particular. And this... something that is so doable when you decide that you're going to try something different. It could have been a big flop, but it just had so many elements that they they knew it had to have been a banger just there were so many elements they touched on to make it a banger. That's the I think that's probably the language that they used as well. They were they were in a cutting room and they were like we are making a Banger for sure, and it reminds me of Lulu Lemon did a spotify placement maybe five years ago and if you think about a spotify ad placement, it is an audio ad where, Oh, you're hearing audio. They did I think it was a thirty second spot. They had no sound or Crickett shuffling sound, just white noise, for a solid twenty seconds and they said Hey, there's the moment of piece that you needed, or something like that. That's why you should choose Luelemon, and then had another five seconds of silence. So they took exactly the expectation and turned it on its head, and I'm still here remembering it and talking about it. If five, six years later, I love it. Think about this too. That's almost the it's so simple. Like think about how many people just a two years ago, are like you are, Cos man. This effectively has proven not only are they understanding the landscape of what's going on in the world, but this proves that tech that we think is dead can make a crazy this is like millie vanilli taking a second crack at an actual album and having at work after everyone said now that career is dead. Well, it's timely to because there was a period, and maybe I'm skewed because I worked in mobility a half life ago, when qr codes existed, but it was it was clunky. You needed to get a separate APP or you didn't even have a phone that had apps, and then you had to go into that APP and then hover. Now it's you pointed your iphone added it's done. It knows what to do with it. So I think the barrier to entry is lower to this almost antiquated technology than it was. So it's sort of come full circle where it was exciting and sexy but not useful. Same as the when Nokia made a touch screen device, it just it. The market wasn't there yet, and now it is, because if they did this ten years ago, nobody would know what's happening. You know what else is brilliant. I'd love your take on this. We kind of mentioned the whole attribution thing a little bit earlier. We touched on it. So they bring people to their site and then this means instead of going directly, they could have gone directly to their APP store link, but they didn't do it that way. They brought you to their site, which means I'm bypassing apples, kibosh on pixels and this and that, and I'm not kidding you. Yesterday I'm scrolling through my news feed on facebook and I see the brilliant follow up, which is now the same ad, but it's the coin base logo. Now now that you know what it is, it's the coin base logo bumping around and the caption says now that we've got your attention, and I was like slow clap, like perfect executive. The kids would say a chef's kiss, chefs kiss man, like perfect execution on it. And I and I can't help but think you don't have to do something exactly like that, but there are things you can do as a dealership to stand out and I know you you have an example because you kind of helped usher this example for a local dealership. Why don't you share about that? So at the beginning, or I guess the first Christmas, during covid especially here in Ontario, Canada, we can have no fun, we can do no fun things. That's only now changing. So one of our dealers, they had their own brilliant idea where you couldn't do a Mall Santa...

Photo shoot with your kids. That they got US Santa and they got some elves and they made photo shoots on the back of an f one hundred and fifty outside of their dealership for the community. Beautiful. I love it. Ten out of ten. And then I was looking at it and I was thinking, okay, they have a man in a mullet with an Elf suit on. So I called them, which is I like to call a bad brilliant idea, if depending on how long anybody's been around. And so all that to say, so, do you guys? Did you guys, rent the Elf suit or did you owe? Do you own? And I said we own it. Why? What can do you need to borrow it? No, I don't need to borrow it. But you know the Elf on the shelf thing that the kids do every year? Yeah, we need to do that with your sales guy, who also has a mullet, and they elf suit might be a little bit too tight, but it's timely, so let's do it. And so of the past two Christmases they've actually hidden a grown man in an Elf suit, scaring their employees and customers at various places in the dealership and posting it online, and it became a thing in their community. There people were following along just for that, and I think that's the piece that that builds relationships, that makes you likable. But you can't track it one to one, but people remember that. That's all you need is for them to remember you when the time comes that they need you. Yeah, this is that I've had so many conversations in the past couple of weeks. There is, I'm telling you, and you and I've talked about this for years, right, like we have our little, you know, summits, our two person summits, where we talked about these things. There is there is a surge of people, whether it's vendors, quote unquote, vendors or dealerships, who are like, yes, enough with the crap, enough with the fluff, enough with the drama, enough with the Hoity Toidy, who look at me, we're just going to be real and we're going to have fun and we're going to focus back in on everything you just said. Does it seem intangible? Yes. Does it build relationships in the community? Yes, and that and they there's this group of people that are so much more focus, more than you and I have probably ever thought in our little two persons summits. Of like relationships matter, and there's a reason why, and it goes back to what you said. So, you know, shout out to our beloved crew at Langon fetter motors and quinty West Ontario, because they're doing such a tremendous job, but they're also doing other things. You see, they're not focused, at least I don't think they are. NOELA, don't be focused on this. If you are, but they're not focused on I don't think she is. The likes. And Oh, how come my videos? We did our live every week and barely any videos. No, in fact, they're just focused on having fun. It's a bit of a creative outlet. It gets people to know them and and they probably shared this with you with but they shared it with me, Jones. He's walking through a Walmart and people are like, I saw your video on facebook. You can't listen to me like my beloved DP be gang. You can't afford that kind of value. Nobody can. You can't put a price on it. The the just the as the inherent excitement that someone else feels by seeing you in person or connecting a dot or engaging with you in a meaningful way. I would take one of those over a hundred thousand views of faceless people that I don't get to meet. PS. All the people that you think are getting those views are paying for them in many instances. So that's it. That's an example which just shared, an example of some simple things you can do. You know, the brilliance of it. He probably spent like twenty seven dollars on that costume and it's like the gift that keeps giving.

Speak to me, though, a little bit wit about this intangible piece, because I know we are trapped in kind of a thirty day rollover. We're trapped in up. But what's the Roy what are your what's kind of your best advice about will? How do you try the Roy of something that's seemingly you know that we're seemingly unable to quantify. The short answers. I don't think you can and like any good or smart marketing agency should tell you it depends. Should be the answer to almost every question. But I think the best way to answer that is actually a metaphor, and I don't know why it's taken me so long to properly articulate the metaphor, but I today. Actually I figured it out. If you think about the best salesperson on your team and nine times out of ten they've been there for a long time and you know that guy named Pete. Everybody has a pete. You know that beat is going to come and Pete's going to buy his next truck from you. You can bet your kids education fund on it. Pete's coming to you for his next truck. Why? Okay, you've known Pete for a long time. You go way back. Pete and are good friends. Oh, we did this together. Oh yeah, I see him all the time a drop off for school, whatever it is. You Know Pete. Pete likes you. Pete knows you. You have a relationship. How many pets does every dealership have, or does every salesperson have that you know you have their business. You don't have to question it because you've built a relationship. That's the piece that I think a lot of dealers struggle to understand when it comes to digital is that it is how you're starting these relationships these days. That's how people are starting romantic really and ships these days. And if you're not present, somebody else will be present and somebody else is going to show up with chocolate covered strawberries and they're going to take your customers out on a date before you have the chance to find your next peat. It's relationships. It's how do you quantify your Pete? You don't. Do you send Pete something special after he buys something from you? Properly? It's simple, but it is intangible. Yeah, I love it. At leap the law of resciprocity. Yeah, yeah, exactly how to win friends and influence people. One hundred and one the first lesson they teach in that book essentially Um it also, you know, brings me full circle back to well, how how do I engage people? If like, I think people have been looking at the wrong metrics when it comes to engagement, and that's one of the things I drew from coin base. There it. They don't know directly at the moment. They don't know how many people are scanning the Qr Code. They only know after you scan the Qr Code. And okay, it happens immediately because they've got thirty seconds to really make the point. So it's accelerated. But it's kind of the same thing. I don't know the value of this podcast over the last nine years until somebody comes forward the way they do and they say, dude, up been listening to you for the last seven years. And even just this morning I was having a conversation and that out of know where, this guy's like, dude, the reason we listen to the dealer playbook is because it's fun, it's real, it's something we'd listen to. Your Voice is sexy, you give good in front, like it was just all these things. I would have no clue. I don't know until they tell me. It's like an after the fact thing, and sometimes I think we need to be more willing to do that. For example, I remember we had a conversation during the pandemic. I might have done a facebook live on this at some point, and I'm like, there's value of if you play an instrument, there is value in you, as the dealer principle or GM or salesperson, going live and playing your instrument for no other reason than other just like what you said, to get to know Pete. There's...

...there's value in being like, look at this picture I drew. Hey, your kids are at home board and lockdown, download it and color it and then submit it to us and we're going to do a draw for Tim Horton's gift certificate or a starbucks gifter. Like. There is value in all of those things and and those, to me, are the things that stand out. You may not know the value of it because you know, if they're just copying a facebook picture, you can't see how many downloads there are. But what I would submit is there are actually other engagement metrics that are far superior to downloads or views or whatever, because if you can move people to activity the way that coin base moved everybody off their couch into an activity, you're going to stay top of mind for like there's a longer play to that. It lasts longer in people's minds. There was another action. I cannot remember the company, so maybe they didn't do as beautiful of a job as coin based, earlulemon, but maybe three four years ago there was a commercial during the Super Bowl where it made a joke about how that's the time that the whole the most toilets are flushed is the commercials during the Super Bowl, and then it said like here's your opportunity to go flush the toilet and then I think there was a pause or something. I'll have to look back at it, but sort of a the action was entirely unrelated to whatever the business was. I highly doubt it was a local plumbing company doing that during the Super Bowl. But yeah, the the movement you don't always see, but think about the brands that you love as a consumer. I know it can be it can be really hard to see yourself through the eyes of your customer. You make a lot of assumptions. We do it. That's you know, that's why we talk to our clients so much more than just living in our own fish bowl and sort of stepping outside. But you have to talk to people and understand why they think you're valuable or what's missing to provide value. Some of the things that are the most I don't know if maybe exciting is the right word, but most valuable to a car buyer often aren't the sexy things that you want to talk about. I can and sign this digitally and I'm going to leave in a half hour. HMM, that's a that's a low bar, and yet that's the thing that people want half the time. It's crazy. So to sort of look at pull yourself out and put yourself in the seat of the customer. Can you quantify how many people willingly said yes, I want to do this. No, when you talked about it, did they maybe choose you because of it? It's really strong possibility. MMM, yeah, I love that. Get it. Well, this is a I got instinct almost yeah, it feels like a gut instinct, but it actually was on the back of acquiring so much data, like picking up so many queues, experience feeling like these are all data points and and then it feels like you're making a gut decision. And that's why it feels so natural. And that's that's what effective marketing and building relationships of trust can actually accomplish, for for not just dealerships, any business, our business. Okay, so that's coin base. Lots to digest there, but lots of action will information for those of you listening, and that's what you need to be doing. You need to be thinking about. Well, now, how do I apply this to the context of my circumstances? What do I have at my disposal already in terms of people, creativity, etc. To just start thinking outside the box. But I know there were obviously other ads and I know where you you had a linkedin post about one ad in particular or grouping of ads. So let's let's shift to that now. What are some other adds that stood out to you from the Super Bowl? So every time the Super Bowl happens, we know that there's going to be at least ten car ads, maybe twenty, and most of them will be boring and that a lot of that was the case but I think Toyota specifically did a really...

...good job at making car ads that weren't car ads but yet still were car ads. I think they were a series of three, or there were three that I saw, and they were sort of focused around achieving the impossible, sort of that inspirational message of conquering, and Toyota wasn't mentioned in one of them. I think there was a car in one of them and I don't it had nothing to do with the AD. It was just background noise. Toyota showed up with the logo and a statement at the end of a thirty second spot. All three spots were basically one was about two brothers. One of them had a degenerative eye disease and he went blind and it was the sort of their life story in thirty seconds of his brother skiing in front of him to help him continue to pursue his passion and long story short, they became Olympic gold medalists time over time and they achieved impossible and the statement from Toyota was essentially like we support this, this is what we're about and it they didn't make it about Toyota, they made it about these two guys achieving the impossible. And one of the and ones was it started with a phone call from, I think an adoption agency and a mother and they said, Oh, there's a little girl ready to be adopted, but she has I think it was. It was she was missing both legs or one leg, and the woman said it'll be hard but it'll be worth it, and so super powerful statement again, and then it goes it shows her growing up as a kid and also becoming, you know, an Olympic medalist and going through this. We achieved it. And the third one was a little bit more general, but same thing. It wasn't about Toyot at all. It was about this conquering, this feeling, this emotion, not about a car driving around a Lupi Mountain in eight million pixels. That one got my praise. I love it because it is emotional and the to your point, like there's a sophistication level that that Toyota clearly understands, or whoever the marketing firm was that put this together that understands that. When you see, because what they did, and from what I'm hearing here, is they told a story. It touches your heart so you remember it and instead of them being like and that's how Toyota help our the the tagline of like, we support this or whatever they're they're Toyota is showing that they can breach ego and pride and latch onto somebody else's greatness to validate their values. But it's still not about Toyota. It's it's about who they're highlighting. And then the other sophistication level is understanding. You know, we've talked about this. It's Super Nerdy, but like the five levels of marketplace sophistication, starting with level one, which is what is the product, and then, as you progress, it's what's the product plus the features, how's it different, etcetera. But when you get to the fifth level of sophistication and marketing, it's all emotional where most people get it wrong. What I love, what I'm hearing about Toyota is most people go emotional and then their tagline will say something like Toyota built for the life you want, and it's like snooze. They made it all about them at the end. I love that they held true to we share these values, but it's about them. Yeah, and I think it's kind of sophisticated and it's sort of a different way than the Matrix, where it also appeals not just to one specific demographic where, if you're young, you could relate to this from the spot of the kid. If you're, you know, a teenager or a young twenty something, you can relate to this, you know, spot of potential that you're still in. And then, if you're...

...a parent, you can relate to this of Oh, this, this could be my kid, and it that's that's complex and that's hard to do and I think they nailed it. This is a fun conversation. Thank you for joining me. With Norad, director of client strategy at Flex dealercom. How can those listening get in touch with you? I am at what norad across every single platform. Ever, simple. Thanks for having me. Lucky. There's a whole other story about you. Know, you're so lucky. Your your domain in presence. You know how many years it took me to realize that Michael a Sirillo on twitter looks, just looks like mckaybos Arello? One of those things. Anyways, I'm Michael Cirillo and you've been listening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening.

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