FREE PARKING DAY by John St for Trader

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FREE PARKING DAY

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Industry Online Press, Media & Information
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Canada
Agency John St
Art Director Kyle Lamb
Copywriter Kurt Mills
Released February 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Live Events and/or Stunts
Advertiser: TRADER CORP.
Product/Service: AUTOS.CA
Agency: JOHN ST
Creative Director/Partner: Angus Tucker (John St.)
Creative Director/Partner: Stephen Jurisic (John St.)
Copywriter: Kurt Mills (John St.)
Art Director: Kyle Lamb (John St.)
Team Lead: Melissa Tobenstein (John St.)
Account Service: Sarah Frackowiak (John St.)
Digital Producer: Ryan O'hagan (John St.)
Media placement: Free Parking Stunt - Buying Parking Spaces - Feb.26th, 2012
Media placement: OOH Wall Murals - Parking Garages - Feb.23rd, 2012
Media placement: Radio Interviews - Various Radio Stations - Feb.18th, 2012
Media placement: Press Event - Toronto International Auto Show - Feb.18, 2012
Media placement: Wild Posters - Streets And Parking Garages - Feb.20th, 2012
Media placement: Digital Banners - AutoTrader.ca (And Partner Sites) - Feb. 18th, 2012
Media placement: E-Blast - AutoTrader Email Database - February 18th, 2012
Media placement: Facebook/Twitter - Consumer Generated Sharing - Feb.18th, 2012

Summary of the Campaign
To launch Autos.ca – a helpful new website dedicated to making life simpler for the everyday driver – we created Free Parking Day where we paid for Torontonians to park for free in the most expensive city to park in Canada.

We had a budget of only $110,000 (all in – media and production). Our goal was to create an event that would generate huge PR buzz and magnify this tiny budget into the millions.

The 1-day event was covered nationally by major news networks across the country, generating over 3m media impressions (with no paid media/PR behind it). And the new site received over 195,000 site visits in the first week alone.

And we made lifelong fans of the 13,343 who parked for free that day.

The Situation
The online auto category is pretty overwhelming. There are so many ‘help’ sites out there with confusing lingo only car buffs can understand, that they’re really not that helpful at all.

Enter Autos.ca – a helpful new site, dedicated to making life simpler for the everyday driver. Our challenge was to create awareness of it and drive traffic to it, with only a 30-day lead-time and $110,000 total budget (media and production).

The Goal
Our goal was to create a one-day event that would generate huge PR buzz, and magnify our tiny budget.

Success would be measured by site visits in the first week (a goal of 180,000 was set for the brand new URL) and the ability to generate PR for the brand (with no paid media or PR, a goal of 1.8m impressions was set).

The Strategy
Don’t just show that Autos.ca is there to help drivers: prove it.

Execution
Instead of buying ad spaces, we bought parking spaces.

We created Free Parking Day, by purchasing over 7,000 parking spaces in downtown Toronto – the most expensive place to park in Canada. People parked for free at garages all over the city, while street teams also handed out free parking passes on downtown Toronto streets: All complements of Autos.ca.

To get the word out, we used the remaining money ($30,000) to improvise an OOH buy – creating giant murals and leveraging the parking garages themselves as a media space. We also did radio interviews and a press event to key influencers at the Toronto International Auto Show. Online, we used our AutoTrader’s established fan base on Twitter and Facebook to communicate the event, while digital banner ads went live for a few days on all AutoTrader partner sites.

Documented Results
Free Parking Day drove traffic to the lots, and to the site – with a total of 195,872 visits by February 26.

It also received national coverage on TV, radio and web from major sources such as The National Post, Global News, CBC, CTV, CP24, Chum FM and 680News, just to name a few, generating over 3m impressions (with no paid PR or paid media behind it)

And 13,343 Torontonians parked for free that day.