Should You Be The Star of Your Car Dealership’s Advertising?

Car Dealer on TV Commercial

Car Dealer on TV CommercialIt happened twice last week, once in Zumba class and once at the High School Band Banquet. I was asked what I do for a living and launched into my standby “elevator pitch.”

“I make the biggest, loudest car dealer commercials in the history of big, loud car dealer commercials.”

And the first question out of both of their mouths was “Oh, do you do those so and so commercials with that guy who says that thing and he got arrested for something?.”

And of course, I knew exactly which dealer they were talking about as soon as they start talking. We had a very high profile dealer here in town who was arrested for some kind of domestic disturbance with his wife and occasional costar. This lead the local news for a few days a while back.

Subsequently, the dealer, the wife, the children and the family dog all quit appearing in the ads and the name of the dealership was changed.

Now I didn’t have anything to do with this dealer’s advertising, and I don’t know any of the details, but I have dealers asking all the time about appearing in their ads and usually, I try to talk them out of it.

Most people don’t have the public speaking skills, the movie star good looks, the vocal prowess and the particular brand of charisma and chutzpah that it takes to reach out into people’s living rooms and drag them into a car sale.

But that’s not always a problem, it wasn’t for this store.

This guy had it all… chutzpah, charisma, looks, the beautiful family, a sparkling smile and patented catch phrase as he gazed cheerfully into the camera to close every spot.

If you can pull it off, being you is a powerful brand.

And some dealers grow into the role over time. In all honesty. most don’t.

But if you think you’ve got the star power to carry the load, here’s a few pointers.


Maybe you shouldn’t jump into the deep end and starring in the whole 30 seconds spot. Get a standup of yourself saying the dealership catch phrase.

“Nobody Beats My Deals. NOBODY!

“If my name isn’t on the back of your car, You Paid Too Much.”

I’ll get your loan approved even if your credit’s so bad your Momma Won’t Loan You Money.”

Have a professional announcer do the heavy lifting for 25 seconds before he turns it over to you to do what you do best…CLOSE!

You can still be the brand, just in smaller doses


This isn’t Hollywood, and you’re not George Clooney. Don’t set up any convoluted scenes where you’re talking to the customer who’s pretending to buy a car, or the receptionist who’s pretending to answer the phone or your puppy who’s pretending to not be annoyed at you. Quit pretending, just be yourself and talk directly to your customers. Be excited, be enthusiastic, but above all, be yourself. Smile, give them a reason to shop your store. Smile some more… INSERT CATCH PHRASE HERE


If you’re going to be the star, you’s better look like a star. Get the lighting right, get the wardrobe right, get the videography right. There’s no reason to film yourself under fluorescent lights, from halfway across the showroom. It’s time for your close up, so let’s see that smile. There’s no more powerful image in advertising than a well lit, well groomed, smiling human face.


And speaking of your face, if you’re going to plaster it all over TV, half the billboards in town and a couple of city busses. If you’re going to stick your face everywhere, you’d better damn sure keep your nose clean. Limelight isn’t free. The price of fame is scrutiny and if you step out of line, fame can turn to notoriety at the speed of light.

That old saw about all publicity being good publicity, I’m not sure everyone would agree.

Terry LancasterTerry Lancaster is the VP of Making S#!% Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing.

You can connect with Terry on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.