Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three Dealership Mascots That Make People Want to Buy Cars

Advertising has changed a lot over the past several decades, but one method that dealerships aren’t showing any signs of abandoning is the use of mascots. Why? Because, let’s face it, car buying can be intimidating. When consumers associate, say, a cute dog mascot with the dealership instead of a stereotypical (and unfortunate) image of an unethical salesperson, the dealership instantly becomes more approachable. Let’s take a look at three notable examples of mascots done right.

Mr. Nice Guy

Mr. Nice Guy caricature on a yellow background
Source: Conicelli Autoplex
With the slogan "A nice place to do business," Conicelli Auto Group in Pennsylvania actively combats the idea that the dealership is out to cheat its customers. But a few years ago, the dealership decided it wanted more than just the catch phrase and began brainstorming ideas for a mascot. 

After shooting down the idea of a stunt squirrel, Conicelli settled on a caricature of Mr. Nice Guy himself: the dealership's now-retired founder, Dom Conicelli. Now, Mr. Nice Guy is seen all around town, thanks to the dealership's "I Spy Mr. Nice Guy" contests, in which customers place a Mr. Nice Guy magnet on the backs of their cars. Whenever a Conicelli employee spots a magnet, the customers wins an instant prize, which is usually a gift card or prize pack and an entry into a drawing for a grand prize.

Max the Dog

Bill MacDonald didn't have to look hard to find a mascot for his Ford dealership in St. Clair, MI. The mascot, as it turns out, was right in Bill's backyard — literally. He’s Bill's very own fluffy white dog, Max. With his charm and flowing locks, Max is the perfect candidate for Bill MacDonald Ford's commercials. He even stars in his own cartoon!

Max the dog cartoon
Source: Bill MacDonald Ford

Bill has found that Max is also one of the best traffic drivers he has. He brings Max to work with him in the morning, and people flock to the dealership to meet him. In fact, Bill says Max has brought in new customers that wouldn't have shopped at the dealership otherwise.

The Frog

Preston Automotive's mascot, The Frog, has its own Facebook page. Whenever one of The Frog's Facebook friends has a birthday, the dealership staff films a personalized rendition of "Happy Birthday" for the birthday boy or girl. (Now that’s taking personalization to a new level!)

The Frog standing over car brand logos
Source: Preston Automotive Group
The lovable amphibian got its start with the Maryland dealership in 1984, when Dave Wilson, who is now the dealership's president and CEO, exclaimed, "Everybody would love to have a frog!" during a brainstorming session.

Since then, The Frog has appeared in commercials, on the hoods of cars in the lot and customers’ hands when they purchase a vehicle (that's right — everyone who buys a car gets to take home a frog too!).

 If there’s anything Mr. Nice Guy, Max and The Frog can teach us, it's that the most successful mascots represent a personal connection to the dealership's leaders. When creating a mascot, the personal element is key, because consumers can then relate to the dealer as a person, not just an impersonal entity. And when that happens, guess what?

Consumers begin to trust your dealership more.

And then they begin to get curious and want to know more.

And then you have the opportunity to engage them by letting them pet your dog or stopping them in their cars and giving them money or by sending them "Happy Birthday" videos!

And then they buy cars.

It's amazing what a mascot can do.

P.S. Got a mascot you're proud of? We want to hear about it! Tweet us at @855Callbright.

No comments:

Post a Comment