AutoTrader.ca has won the “Grand Prix” at the “Cassies,” an award program focusing on business effectiveness in Canadian advertising. AutoTrader.ca took home the honors for an edgy TV and web commercial designed to reposition the company from an old, uncool image to one that is hip-hop fresh.

In the ad, four unsmiling young men cruise up to a traffic light with blaring music pumped out of their vehicle. Pulling up next to them is an identical blue car carrying an anything-but-tough suburban family. Cut to the dudes trying to sell their car in a hurry – on AutoTrader.ca of course. Message: AutoTrader.ca is for you too…whoever you are. (There’s an “uncensored” version of the ad on YouTube that adds a few bleeped cuss words.)

The ad is cute, but the job that needed to be done was serious: According to an article in the Globe and Mail, DDB, AutoTrader.ca’s agency set a goal to increase website visits by 500,000 unique visitors between February and July, 2012. The campaign, dubbed “the most cars in one place” (since AutoTrader.ca has the highest listings of any Canadian automotive classified site) did much better, logging 3.6 million extra visits during the campaign period. That in turn drove listings – dealer ads went up 18 percent and private listings jumped a whopping 169 percent.

Buoyed by the positive results, Apax, AutoTrader.ca’s owner, says it is now increasing its marketing spend by 25 percent for 2013. A new ad campaign from DDB, AutoTrader.ca’s agency, is due to go live in March of this year.

Want to watch the video? It’s here.

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