So Long, General Lee: AutoTrader Launches Biggest Campaign Ever With 'Dukes Of Hazzard' Stars

If anyone needs a new car, it’s the "Dukes of Hazzard" boys. General Lee has long helped them escape from the sheriff, but has since seen better days.

Now, AutoTrader.com is launching a new advertising campaign that reprises the original elements of "The Dukes of Hazzard" and illustrates how the platform makes car buying simple. 

"We wanted to connect with consumers in a unique and memorable way," said John Kovac, senior vice president, marketing, AutoTrader Group. "The creative concept of 'Find Your Car Your Way' demonstrates that AutoTrader.com can help serve both the need for a new car and a busy lifestyle. Who better to illustrate that than the classic 'The Dukes of Hazzard'? We hope to entertain consumers with the excitement and nostalgia of this campaign."

Developed by Southfield, Michigan-based agency Doner, the concept features Tom Wopat and John Schneider, the original actors from "The Dukes of Hazzard," running from the sheriff. Amid jumping through barns and other adventures, they realize they are in need of a new vehicle. Hence, they utilize AutoTrader.com's new, personalized mobile shopping tools — including text alerts and search/save functions — to shop for and find the perfect car.

"There are few shows that embody a car and owner better than 'Dukes of Hazzard,' " says Jessica Stafford, senior director of consumer marketing, AutoTrader. "They clearly need a new car, and our new tools illustrate that even if you are busy, we can help you buy a car." The campaign's tagline is "Thrill, energy … and cars."

This is AutoTrader's most extensive marketing campaign ever. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Janusz Kaminski, the TV ads will appear as part of an integrated media campaign that includes broadcast, radio, mobile-billboards, digital and social media and a PR campaign. AutoTrader is also advertising in cinema for the first time. In total, the campaign is designed to have 95% reach, says Stafford.

Indeed, this campaign represents a new direction for the platform as it recently introduced several new car-buying tools and features. "This is an exciting time at AutoTrader.com as we roll out a new experience and enhanced benefits for car shoppers," says Kovac. "We understand that consumers are on-the-go, yet they're always connected — whether by mobile device or computer. The 'Find Your Car Your Way' campaign is the perfect intersection of AutoTrader.com's features and the car shopper's need for personalization and efficiency."

At the same time, this new creative direction infuses more personality into the brand.

AutoTrader's previous campaigns concentrated on computer-generated imagery and technical abilities. Now, the campaign features story-telling and an interconnected narrative. "We had never done live shots before with real stunts," says Stafford. "We filmed for six days in southeastern Louisiana, and we had one chance for many of the stunts. That was a new experience for us."

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