Kijiji puts car buyers in the driver’s seat

For the launch of its dedicated automotive platform, the company plays off traditional ad tropes in the category.

Kijiji is portraying itself as empowering car buyers in a new national campaign supporting the launch of Kijiji Autos, a new standalone app and site for people buying and selling cars.

The creative features Kijiji users speeding down empty roads while perusing the app on their phones and sitting comfortably in their seats. Another spot shows an engineer pull a cover off a new model, revealing a woman “test driving” the platform on a tablet while laying down.

The campaign launched last week and is appearing on TV, as online pre-roll, OOH and social. The campaign’s first phase will last until June, at which point the company will reevaluate its resonance with Canadians ahead of the September car-buying season, says Natalie Cunningham, head of brand marketing at Kijiji.

While the first spots focus on the functional benefits of the platform – namely, the instant-price analysis, dealer ratings and reviews, and “high-performance” search filters – future iterations may focus on less purely functional aspects, she says.

With their humorous twists and play on conventional auto marketing imagery, the campaign’s three spots follow Kijiji’s fun and approachable brand positioning, while showing users how easy it is to buy cars and trucks through the new dedicated platform, Cunningham says.

“It was an interesting challenge from the start because we were in the automotive category, yet we weren’t creating a campaign about cars,” says Gavin Drummond, creative director at Montreal-based agency CloudRaker, which developed the campaign and the identity for the Kijiji Autos brand. That’s what led to the main creative insight: namely, that “there’s a very specific language used in car advertising, and that we could have some fun with that.”

The creative insight stemmed from research pertaining to the development of the product itself, Cunningham says. After speaking with dealers first to better understand what they needed from the platform, Cunningham says it learned they wanted to “put the consumer first.”

On the consumer side, Canadians were looking for a car shopping experience that gave them more confidence and ease when navigating the big ticket purchase. “The outcome of that is really putting the user in the driver’s seat and having people drive technology of this new destination,” she says.

CloudRaker also led a brand refresh for Kijiji in October. The agency’s assignment with the company covers media planning and creative. Cunningham says CloudRaker’s presence in Toronto and Montreal has proven beneficial for understanding both the English and French markets, as the campaign is national in scope.

To help meet Kijiji’s goal of reaching customers across demographics, the company went with a broad media strategy. With a total of nine Kijiji users being featured across three spots and six OOH and digital executions, the brand tried to deliver on its message that it “makes car buying easy for everyone,” according to Cunningham.

“Creatively, our aim was to show as many different types as car buyers as we could, with a tighter focus around some key personas that we had identified,” says Drummond. Meanwhile, he says the media strategy had to be broad to reach both experienced and inexperienced buyers.

Kijiji Autos has also signed a deal for Toronto Raptors broadcast and in-stadium sponsorship and is sponsoring auto shows in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. The alignment with the Raptors is intended to leverage the basketball team’s national fanbase and reach a diverse national audience, Cunningham says.