Y&R wins Autotrader account, faces big challenge in chasing down Trade Me

Y&R already has a car account in Land Rover, but now it’s added to its automobile-related portfolio by penning 33-year-old Kiwi motoring brand Autotrader into the ledger. 

Following a competitive pitch thought to have involved several unknown agencies, the Bauer-owned brand today confirmed that it had selected Y&R as its lead creative agency. 

“The Y&R team really impressed us with their genuinely integrated offer and insightful approach to how we communicate that it’s easier, cheaper and faster to sell your car through Autotrader.co.nz,” says general manager at Bauer Trader Media Terry Williams-King in a release sent out by Y&R.

Over the last three years, Autotrader’s ad spend (according to Nielsen’s rate card data) has fluctuated, lifting from $474,000 in 2012 to $1.7 million in 2013, before dropping back down to 788,000 in 2014—some of which was last year dedicated to television and online advertising.   


Although Autotrader enjoys a healthy audience of over 450,000 monthly online users and its magazine reaches 100,000 eyeballs a week, research recently conducted by Nielsen shows that the brand lags well behind Trade Me when it comes to Kiwi users.

The research showed that Trade Me is the most-used website by prospective buyers with the site attracting 79 percent of all online vehicle researchers. So dominant is Trade Me’s hold on the market, that its use is more than double that of its nearest competitors, Autotrader, Google and Turners.  

On the positive side, three-quarters of a million New Zealanders plan to buy a car over the next year and most (78 percent) of them are using digital means in which to do it. However, despite the important role digital devices play on the road to automotive purchases, more traditional means are still also important, with customers also visiting car selling sites.


Given the fact that consumers use such a broad range of sources to before selecting a vehicle, Nielsen recommends that advertisers should use an integrated approach that spans all the available channels.    

In a series comments accompanying the research, Nielsen said that there was still potential for growth of web traffic to automotive sites and that this could be driven by improving the quality and increasing the quantity of the content provided. 

Nielsen’s research shows users of online auto sites are after easier ways to compare vehicles, with survey respondents saying that would like see additional information on specific features, performance and pricing as well as the inclusion of a section on condition reports and service history.

It will be interesting to see if Y&R heeds this advice when it launches its first campaign for Autotrader later this this year. 

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