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Auto parts site rolls print, radio campaign

By Published on .

Online parts supplier ExpressAutoParts.Com hopes to attract some of the more than 40 million do-it-yourself car enthusiasts in the U.S. with print and radio ads breaking soon.

Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, created the campaign, part of a $12 million annual marketing budget for the car site. Marketing also will include online advertising, promotions, public relations, special events and sponsorships.

"This is guys talking among guys," said Bill Oberlander, executive creative director at Kirshenbaum. "I don't know if that's a demographic as much as it is a psychographic."

Print ads that break in January magazines, such as Car & Driver and Road & Track, show a diagram of an auto engine. Instead of listing the part, though, the copy is about the Web site.

The car-buff market is estimated at about $33 billion in sales; when combined with service and repair business sales, the estimate is almost $100 billion. The site currently sells mostly to do-it-yourself consumers, but plans to beef up its business to court mechanics early next year.

Research shows that do-it-yourself car enthusiasts also likely have Internet access, said Paul Campbell III, ExpressAutoParts.Com founder and co-CEO.

He sees retail stores and dot-coms, such as Wrenchead.com and CarParts.com, as rivals. But ExpressAutoParts is different, Mr. Campbell said, because its distribution system includes multiple warehouse locations.

ExpressAutoParts, which went live in August, will have its grand opening Nov. 10. The company is also the anchor tenant in the shop@aol marketplace on America Online.

While the merchant says it has 5 million car parts in stock, its site also includes a resource center, hard-to-find parts and racing schedules. It also offers certified mechanics for live chats.

ExpressAutoParts advertised on TV in early October. The spot was specifically created in-house for its sponsorship of the International Hot Rod Association President's Cup Nationals.

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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