Success Story: CarSoup Stirs Pot For Web Sellers

Mar 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Auto dealers are big advertisers, but when it comes to TV, stations can go only so far in the buying process, said Jerry Campbell, director of sales for WAWS-TV and WTEV-TV in Jacksonville, Fla.
At least that was the case before Mr. Campbell teamed with CarSoup.com, an Internet-based automotive ad service representing local dealers that is helping pull auto advertisers away from newspapers and to his Clear Channel-owned Fox and CBS affiliates.
Making use of Clear Channel’s outdoor and radio presence in Jacksonville, Mr. Campbell heavily promotes the CarSoup section of the waws.com Web site and has seen payoffs in Web hits.
“This is an opportunity for stations to take classified revenue stream away from newspaper and drive more traffic to their Web site,” said Larry Cuneo, founder of CarSoup, which has about 30,000 cars listed nationwide and market-exclusive deals with more than a dozen TV stations, including Clear Channel’s ABC affiliate WOKR-TV in Rochester, N.Y., and Gannett’s NBC affiliate KSDK-TV in St. Louis.
Capturing online auto advertising dollars is an area in which TV stations lag behind other media, according to local media consultant Borrell Associates of Portsmouth, Va. The auto industry spent $1.3 billion on online advertising in 2003, up 15 percent over 2002, and is now gathering a 4.5 percent share of all ad dollars spent online. However, “TV stations seem clueless about this ad-share shift,” a fall 2003 Borrell report claimed.
However, this is the second year Mr. Campbell’s stations have offered CarSoup, and he recommends it to other stations with one warning: “You have to be willing to commit to a long-term promotion. You can’t just promote this for 13 weeks and walk away. It’s 52 weeks a year.”