Hearts & Science picks up U.S. media for Cox Automotive's Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book
Omnicom Media Group’s Hearts & Science was selected to handle all U.S. media planning and buying for Cox Automotive's primary consumer-facing brands, Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.
The appointment follows a review, handled internally, that launched in December 2019 and involved multiple holding companies.
Atlanta-based Cox Automotive is a unit of Cox Enterprises. It was formed in 2014 to consolidate all of Cox’s automotive businesses including Autotrader, the online marketplace for car buyers and sellers, and Kelley Blue Book, a vehicle valuation and automotive research company.
According to COMvergence estimates, Autotrader spent $86.6 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2019, and $25.6 million in the 12 month period between July 2019 and June 2020. Spend estimates for Kelley Blue Book were not available.
Incumbent agencies MDC Partners’ Assembly and Dentsu Aegis Network’s 360i previously handled brand media and performance media responsibilities, respectively. A Cox Automotive spokesperson confirmed that the two agencies no longer service the business in any capacity.
Greta Crowley, VP of marketing for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, said in a statement that the appointment of Hearts & Science comes amid “a time of growth and innovation” for those two brands specifically.
“We are adapting quickly to the constantly changing landscape in this time of unprecedented business complexity and opportunity,” Crowley said, adding that Hearts & Science’s “deep industry expertise along with their insight-led communications planning process makes them an invaluable partner to help leverage the voice of our brands and inspire our customers.”
According to Automotive News, a recent Ipsos study showed that 93 percent of people are favoring the use of personal vehicles over public transportation during the pandemic and, that when consumers search for a new car, they do so online.
For Hearts & Science, the appointment marks another win for the agency after it picked up the nutrition business of Reckitt Benckiser this week. RB incumbent agency Publicis Media's Zenith retained the majority of that business—the health and hygiene portion—following a review launched in February.
On the creative side, Autotrader has worked with 72andSunny New York on various campaigns. A new campaign from the agency, called “Still Moving,” debuted in April and was aimed at alleviating consumer concerns surrounding car buying during the pandemic by highlighting the various home services now offered by online car dealers.