AutoIQ highlights its new customer Journey

Who: AutoIQ, with Angry Butterfly for creative, HeydSaffer for production (directed by Sammy Ray Welch), DivisnPost, and Grayson Music. Stryker Media Group for media.

What: “Buy your next car any way you want it,” a campaign for the new online car retailer that touts its ability to let consumers buy cars online or in person. It’s a concept that plays a key role in the creative approach. Angry Butterfly won the AutoIQ account in spring, and developed the brand identity prior to the campaign.

When & Where: The campaign launched Sept. 20, running in Ontario across TV, online video, display and radio for three months. There’s also a social influencer component.

Why: AutoIQ is a new entrant in the online auto sales category, but because it has the backing of 17 car dealers, it offers customers a full omni-channel experience that rival online-only sellers can’t match. Buying cars online is a relatively new concept, although nearly 30% of U.S. new car sales were made online in 2020, according to automotive retail consultant Alan Haig. The campaign is intended to communicate AutoIQ’s benefits while creating excitement about a new way of buying a car.

How: The campaign needed to convey a considerable amount of information about AutoIQ, from giving customers the ability to buy either online or in-store; a 7-day money back guarantee; the ability to shop more than 5,000 vehicles, and delivery to the customer’s door or in-store pick-up. All of that boiled down to a single simple fact: By using AutoIQ, consumers can buy a car any way they want.

The meta spot (an ad about advertising) opens on two agency creatives excitedly presenting ideas for the brand’s new TV spot, with a whiteboard conveying the key brand attributes in the background. “I don’t think so,” says the client in response to their suggested creative approach. “Okay,” says the lead creative. “What if we spend the entire budget on a really good song?”

Cut to him pushing play on the Journey song “Any Way You Want It,” and the two creatives leaping about, playing air guitar and generally winning the client over with their enthusiasm.

So how close was Angry Butterfly’s presentation to the spot? “Pretty close, actually,” said partner and chief creative officer Erin Kawalecki. “The language we used was very similar, and the client understood right away not only the humour of the situation, but the sticky power of the song and how it expressed their unique positioning. It also involved a lot of singing by Brent [Choi, Angry Butterfly’s CEO].”

“They had so many great ideas to choose from, but our team just immediately fell in love with this idea,” said Carrie Heath, AutoIQ’s vice-president of marketing, in a release. “It conveyed our brand promise so quickly, simply, and memorably that it actually helped us reimagine how we think about our business.”

Why Journey? “‘Any Way You Want It’ was too perfect for what AutoIQ was looking to communicate as their point of difference,” said Choi. “[For] a new brand launching into a new space, it also has real impact and disruption when it kicks in.”

The discussions with the Journey camp were “very professional,” with some back-and-forth as the band tried to understand how their song would be used. “Overall it was a very positive experience,” he said. “I know sometimes it takes months for this type of contract to formalize, but we were able to expedite it fairly quickly.”

Journey elsewhere: The band has forged some strong ties with the marketing world over the years, including creating an original song for Budweiser way back in 1979. More recently, insurance company State Farm used a (mostly spoken word) version of “Any Way You Want It” in a U.S. ad showing a State Farm agent and a customer having a “little Journey moment,” while Nissan used the band’s mega-hit “Don’t Stop Believin'” in a 2017 spot for its Rogue SUV. Their music has also become a TV mainstay, including arguably the most famous use of one of their songs ever.

And we quote: “Creating a brand from scratch is not something you get to do everyday. For AutoIQ, we knew we had to create excitement about a whole new way to buy a car. Hopefully the song will also make it impossible for people to get the benefits of AutoIQ out of their heads.” — Erin Kawalecki, partner and chief creative officer, Angry Butterfly

Chris Powell