"We don't do price promotions. We project an image," says Joseph R. "Pitt" Hyde, president of the 1,305-store auto aftermarket chain. "We want what our customer sees on a television screen to reflect the experience they will have in our store."
That strategy differs from competitors such as Chief Auto Parts. Says Mr. Hyde: "No one cares what an alternator costs until they need one. We want our advertising to make them think of AutoZone when they do need an alternator-or anything else for the car."
AutoZone claims to accomplish marketing goals without an ad agency-everything is done in-house-or a large budget. According to Competitive Media Spending, the marketer spent $31.4 million in measured media ads last year; that is roughly double its '94 expenditures of $16.8 million, mainly because the company is using more TV.
Thanks to these efforts, AutoZone's net income for the first half of the company's fiscal 1996 increased 21% to $62.1 million from $51.5 million. Sales for the period rose 18%.
Says Mr. Hyde as he flips through the pages of a notebook labeled Competitive Advertising: "I don't expect anything really different" from the competition.