Renault-owned Web car dealer acts as honest broker

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PARIS--In a bid to become a leader in Europe's nascent market for online used car transactions, Renault has unveiled the first ads for its Caradisiac.com service that focus on the site's willingness to be an "honest broker.''

TV and print ads created by Leo Burnett Co., Paris, aim to educate consumers that Caradisiac is an intermediary, and not a seller itself -- while building confidence in the site. All ads in the campaign feature Caradisiac's signature slogan: "We're not here to sell you a used car, but to help you buy one."

The ads also aim to deflect two built-in handicaps in the business plan, according to agency sources. First, consumers are reticent to believe what they read on the Internet, and even more wary of conducting large transactions online. And second, no one -- not even potential buyers - really believes used cars are a good deal.

To get around these issues, one ad shows a used car, its back tire on a Bible and the slogan: "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Caradisiac is the brainchild of former Renault manager Cedric Bannel. Aside from the biggest shareholder, Renault, the site's other main investors include leading financial institutions Nomura, ING Barings and Commerzbank.

The site lists more than 10,000 used cars on sale at showrooms and dealerships across France, and is now expanding its offer to include vehicles displayed in other countries, notably Spain and Belgium.

Leo Burnett picked up the account after a final pitch against BDDP & Fils, Paris, in early October. No advertising budget was disclosed, but industry insiders say that Renault has opened its deep pockets for the site's French and European launch, which began in late September.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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