I miss John Reagan. He retired from the car business a couple years ago with about a gazillion dollars and, with him, he took the last remaining interest I had in car advertising.
Because there’s never been anybody else who’s shared my philosophy:
Most car dealers have pretty much the same thing for the same price. All you want is to have a chance at getting someone’s business when the time comes for him or her to need another car. If a car dealer tells you they’re going to lose money on a deal, they’re lying.
The fact is: car dealerships are, in most cases, like Mos Eisley spaceport.
There are exceptions, of course. None more than John. He was the least full of you-know-what car guy I ever met, and we worked together for eight years before he retired.
He says I made him a household name. You want to know how?
John let me basically go The Daily Show on car advertising.
You know how car dealers have their biggest sale of the year every other week? How they’re famous for their once-in-a-lifetime-semi-annual-sales? You know how prices have never been lower? Again?
We sorta mocked all of that, and in doing so, created a new-car-smell-fresh car dealer campaign.
We ran sales, too. Sort of. We used the sale premise to always be having sales – as in “everyday low prices.”
Our low prices weren’t an event. They were a positioning statement of everyday value.
And this time four years ago, it went something like this:
What I did on my summer vacation. By John Reagan.
Watched the Olympics.
Lost a bundle on the badminton final. Bounced back on table tennis. Took a bath on kayaking.
Discovered I needed to have a sale. Quickly.
Without further ado, announcing the Reagan Hyundai Never Bet Against The Slovakians in Kayaking Even When Your Bookie Earl Tells You It’s A Mortal Lock Sale.
I’ve lowered prices on Hyundais. With America’s Best Warranty.
Through Labor Day Weekend. Missouri Boulevard.
Waaaaay worth the Drive to Jeff City. To Reagan Hyundai.
Then, starting in September, it was time for another silly sale.
Give us a car dealer with a long time-horizon and some humility, and we could take over the world. Wait. Nah. We’re out of the car business.
But here’s some gold medal advice for you:
Can you take conventions weighed down by cliche and skew them?
Can you take what’s going on in the world and look at it through a different filter?
Maybe it’s too late for you to do it with the Olympics, but there’s another huge opportunity coming up. In fact it’s already here.
Unless you don’t have a bunch of political ads running during your Olympic coverage.