Manheim (largest auto auctions in the country for car dealers) wanted to be known as having a “level playing field” for both buyers and sellers. At first, that seemed to create a conflict of positioning. How can your services be a benefit to buyers as well as to sellers when both parties want to get the best deal? After all, they both had to be reached by the exact same media buy. With no way to seperate the messaging through media, it had to be solved creatively. Our CD, who was freelancing for another agency at the time, came up with the idea of giving buyers and sellers larger than life personas that could work in combination with each other. Since the main media buy was spread ads in trade magazines, the creative would use the media as two seperate ads that always worked together, showing how both sides win in Manheim’s marketplace.
Ten personas were agreed upon between client and agency, personalities were created, scripts were written, videos were shot for each, photo shoots captured their personality for print ads—sometimes sets were swapped out from video to still photography to make sure the personality would quickly be communicated in a visual that didn’t rely on dialogue. All was accomplished over a two-day shoot in L.A.—the director and his production company were responsible for location scouting, the agency and director were responsible for casting actors who could bring the personas to life and also look the part in still photography. Then we brought a great, young photography team down from S.F. to capture all the still images.
The videos were edited into one :60 anthem piece and then all 10 were also cut into a :30, :15 and :10 version for various digital media insertions.
The client and everyone at the company were over-the-moon happy with the end result and how it positioned them clearly apart from their competition. Complements from there target audience poured in about how the ads so clearly stood out from the competition and how they looked like nothing else ever done in that category.
The fact that internally they motivated Manheim employees (the marketing team heard employees referring to themselves and their clients as the characters), was only icing on the cake since employee engagement and moral was not a part of the strategic brief.