Car Dealer Content Critiques!

Posted by | December 10, 2013 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Again, a huge thanks to the VaynerMedia employees who helped me bring these together. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Kuni Lexus: Coco Upstairs…

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 4.10.04 PMThis is… interesting. On 12/4 for three straight posts, this Lexus dealership referred to there being “coco upstairs.”

“Hot coco would be nice if you live in CO”

“Head upstairs for the hot coco”

“When you’re upstairs with your hot chocolate, take a look at our indoor showroom and covered new car lot”

Now intuitively, I get what they were trying to do here. Clearly they were offering complimentary hot chocolate at the dealership in an attempt to get people in the door on a cold day. Nice. So why didn’t they just say it? Everything else about the way that this dealer is handling Instagram is looking pretty good. The shots feel native to the platform (even if some of them are kind of Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 4.10.17 PMdifficult to interpret), they’re hashtaging aggressively (although, they might want to try dumping some of them in the first comment like the LA Philharmonic), but they’re never really making a clear statement. If you’re selling us on the hot chocolate, show it to us! I mean how much sense does this make: “I would like to entice my customers with free drinks, so I am going to coyly mention the drinks while showing a vaguely-framed photo of the roof of one of my cars.”


Tom’s Ford: I lol’d

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.18.35 PMGreat stuff from Tom’s Ford. If you ever catch that guy who does your social in the back office surfing Reddit instead of doing work, thank him for this post before you yell at him, because when brands embrace a meme like this, it can open up tons of opportunities. You have the chance at earned media, and you’re speaking the language of a younger, web-native crowd (remember, the kids who grew up with this stuff aren’t kids anymore, they’re in their mid-20′s and they’re in prime-time for developing loyalty to a car-brand). This is what it means to be native. This is telling the right kind of story for the room that you’re in. The only real way to make this better would have been to customize the text in the image macro: “Brake Yourself, Winter Drivers are Coming” or something like that. In fact with tools like, there is really not to. Now I understand that working with memes can be a legally tricky area, but if you’re going to go for it, go big and make it your own.





FIAT of Manhattan: Where’s the Link?

FIAT of ManhattanNow going in for a right hook when you’re selling a $30,000 product is kind of difficult. You can’t really just drop a link to the website, and hope you catch someone on the right day, so right hooks tend to be sparse and indirect when it comes to auto-sales. This post from Fiat of Manhattan, on the other hand, shows us an exception to the rule – accessories – and exactly how not to right-hook for them. If you’re really selling these potentially-twelve-dollar-impulse-buys at the dealership, why wouldn’t you want to present your followers with an easy and clear path to purchase them? Remember, that you only get a precious few opportunities to engage with your users each week. If you’re not providing them value at every turn you’re going to lose them, and I’m not sure what good that picture is doing if it’s not giving you the change to get some adorable car eyelashes of your very own? If you can purchase these on their website, link it! If the play is to get people into the dealership, do that! But this copy is still hedging toward a purchase CTA, so I guess the moral here is, once again, “Don’t be half pregnant.” If it’s a Jab, don’t elude at making a purchase; if it’s a Right Hook, give your followers something that is super actionable.


Liberty Honda: Perfect Holiday Spirit

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.06.24 PMSpeaking of Jabs vs Right Hooks, this post is really only a few characters of copy away from being a prime-time commercial. You can almost picture it saying “The perfect holiday gift.” The hashtags are smart in their specificity, but I’m afraid a lot of them are too narrow to drive any discovery. What I mean by that is people are unlikely to be scrolling through the #hartfordct search stream any time soon. Otherwise, this is actually a really strong Instagram account (maybe with the exception of their totally blunt Thanksgiving post, but I can forgive that. Just next time , find a way to tie it back in the brand at least a little, ok?). That said, this is a post that just honestly feels right for Instagram. Good on Liberty Honda for getting the platform!


Sterling McCall Lexus: Right Tool. Wrong Mechanic.

Sterling McCall LexusI think using a Facebook event for a local event like this is a great idea. This Lexus dealership, however, has done a really poor job of implementing it. Now, the obvious critique here is that the creative isn’t sized correctly, which is why it got all stretched out, but that’s not too insightful, and it’s easily fixed. No, the big problem here is the copy, which is basically a novella. I think I’ve written entire Medium articles shorter than this event description. There is just no way a dog party at a car dealer warrants this many characters. Now ordinarily the idea of losing your reader before they get to the bottom of a Facebook event page isn’t such a big deal, but Sterling McCall Lexus decided to make it a huge deal by completely undermining the RSVP functionality of Facebook events and asking that attendees send an email to RSVP. And where is that email address? Oh right, at the bottom of the 260 word description. Ouch.


Carvana: Newsjacking with the Best of Them.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.10.28 PMIs this kind of cheating because it’s an online car dealership? Maybe. But sometimes cheaters win, and they win big. I honestly wish I had jumped on the Amazon Prime drone joke as quickly and effectively as these guys did. It’s also worth pointing out that while the Twitter copy looks simple, and it probably came to them naturally enough, that question-and-answer format is really enticing for users. Don’t think I missed the part where they used their own @handle in the tweet. It’s kind of a Busch-League move and everybody needs to stop doing it, but it’s a nit-picky thing in the face of such a solid piece of content.


  • Hugo Moreno

    The Header on the website distracts me from reading the content. just some feedback

    • Adam


    • simplyvallarta

      Some glaring typos in there as well.

      • @kylereed

        Where? I dont see any typos, but my terrible grammar eyes could be not seeing them.

        • simplyvallarta

          I think a few have been cleaned up since I last read but lots of commas separating subordinate clauses. Nit-picky, I guess, but I would think GV would have some serious editors on the Vayner team.

    • @akaTGIF on Twitter

      @disqus_30i3PxTAaA:disqus The fixed header seems to be a design that’s trending. I thought it was cool until you brought up this obvious distraction. VERY GOOD OBSERVATION my friend!

  • 10/10

    Great stuff. Very actionable for SMBs

  • Belize Web

    I agree with Hugo that the heater distracts the reader from reading otherwise everything is good!

  • octopusmask

    Love the Ad breakdowns

  • Revizzit

    It doesn’t matter what the industry, Gary – you’re insights are very much needed and the lessons learned are invaluable! Thanks!

  • Jeremy.Gold

    I’m personally bored by the Liberty Honda pic. It reminds me of some commercial for your local dealer where they have some cheesy tagline they’re about to drop.

  • Sedruola Noel Maruska

    Wow! I learn something new all the time and you get my brain buzzing! Thank you for this breakdown. Great stuff!

  • Jon Dodge

    It’s nice to see a writeup that dives deeper and skips directly to the actionable suggestions. Nicely done Gary.

  • Opticians

    Gary you so get the BIG picture great blog

  • Troy

    Great – Solid Points! Thanks for sharing Gary.

  • Richard Glynn

    Great inspiration Gary. Love the newsjacking. We’ve just jabbed this for a car dealer in the UK. Cheesy I know. We even have a twerking reindeer.

    • Randy Spangler

      So, uh, what’s with the elf hat codpiece at :44?

      • Richard Glynn

        Hi Randy. I know, Worrying isn’t it. Some times you have to just go with it! ;) Would’ve thought the twerking reindeer just after one minute might’ve caught your eye?

  • captainpease

    Appreciate the “real-time” critiques here. Insightful little nuggets. Great job to everyone involved.

  • Nathan

    I’m enjoying this. Is there a good case for B2B-based companies on social media?

  • @kylereed

    I am actually very impressed with these ads, I thought they would be way worse. And to think, we only had to see one ad with a bow on it hinting to a Christmas gift.
    I do know some car dealers and they are constantly asking how they can do better online. They see their physical dealerships disappearing rapidly (think Borders/Blockbuster) and the online sales team increasing.

    I think there is a huge opportunity for car salesmen. They know how to sell, they just have to learn the new tools to sell. But selling a car can be the same online or in person, just need to learn the proper tools.

  • Clair Trebes

    Pretty cool post you’ve written here Gary, I like how you’ve collated different examples – some good, some not so good to really highlight the differences in getting it right as opposed to not so right. So many businesses and people can learn from simply reading this post. Social Media is a funny old world -you can be doing things a certain way with no real traction and not know a simple tweak and you can become stratospheric! Sharing this out across my networks now :)

  • Trey Shields

    Love the critiques, Gary. Quality stuff!

  • JeremyCee

    Great post!

    Feedback: you guys need a copy editor to sit among all your Social Media experts. There’s a litany of typos in this post.

  • Summer

    Thanks for the examples in your book and the continuing examples on-line. They bring the content to life … I hear myself saying “Ok so that’s a good example of what he’s talking about and that’s a bad one – great, got it!”

  • Crystal Foth

    Love the commentary – especially the newsjacking! Thought I’d let you know the link on the is broken.

  • Adeline Arjad

    More of these car dealership articles please! I love them!!

  • James

    Great pics stay on the cutting edge of anything that helps even

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