Media > Branded Content & Entertainment


VML, Kansas City / NAPA AUTO PARTS / 2016

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To compete with the increase in new car purchases, we had to remind America that used cars maintained with NAPA parts can run as well as new cars. And without a huge car payment.


Our idea: create a stereotypical new-car campaign, complete will all the automotive advertising clichés, for three of the most “used” cars we could find already listed for sale on Craigslist. We even created a display inside a shopping mall — a spot usually reserved for new, luxury vehicles. 

The videos instantly spread across social media and the cars sold immediately, reminding America that even old cars can drive like new.


Campaign production kicked off by reaching out to dozens of Craigslist posts offering very used cars for sale — under $1,500 each. Once three owners agreed to participate, we filmed three commercials in three different locations in a single day. Once the films were complete, we helped the cars’ real owners create new Craigslist posts, this time with sexy photos and videos produced by NAPA. When the posts went live on Craigslist, we drove traffic to the Craigslist posts by playing our videos in YouTube pre-roll and promoted posts on Facebook. Although the cars sold almost immediately once posted organically to YouTube, paid media support was staggered over three weeks. Each week featured a different car.


• 3.54 million views in three weeks (46% above campaign goal)

• 23.66 million total impressions

• 10.21 million earned impressions (43% of total impressions)

• Compared to 2015 averages, we drove 1,687% more shares, 2,085% more post comments

• 3 sold cars.


Instead of checking the standard boxes, creative and media worked together to accomplish a singular brand goal: help people see that maintaining an old used car with quality NAPA parts is a smarter financial decision than buying a new car and taking on a huge car payment. As a result, the media approach was twofold:

1. Target car enthusiasts on Facebook and Twitter who already keep their used cars running — people we knew would share and write positive comments.

2. Target prospective new car buyers.

Buy getting buy-in and social engagement from the former, we were able to convince the latter.


Americans bought more new cars last year than ever. On top of that, the perceived complexity of cars manufactured over the past 10 years has led to a decline in do-it-yourself car repair. Both facts are bad news for NAPA Auto Parts, the largest retailer of replacement parts for used cars.

To compete with these trends, we had to hit people where it mattered the most: their wallets.

Our strategy: remind people that a cheap old car maintained with quality NAPA parts makes more financial sense than buying a brand new car and carrying the debt of a huge car payment. All while sticking to NAPA’s brand promise: help you keep your car running longer and stronger.

So we parodied the entire new-car market by making new-car commercials for old, inexpensive cars.


Last year people in the United States bought more new cars than ever — up 5.7% from the previous year. Which was bad news for NAPA Auto Parts, the leading retailer of replacement parts for used cars. Simply put, when people buy brand new vehicles, they make fewer trips to their local auto parts store. We had to remind America that used cars maintained with NAPA parts can run as well as new cars.

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