Target: Used car buyers
Reviewer: David Vinjamuri
A Clint Eastwood-voiced cowboy rides into a corral in a dusty Western town, saying “I need another horse,” to the man who greets him. The horse salesman says, “You ever been to a HorseMax?” “Nope,” says the cowboy. “Come on, I’ll show you around.” Then the salesman explains the HorseMax policy, “see, at HorseMax we’ll buy your horse whether you buy one of ours or not,” he says as they pass a ringing cash register. “… even if she ain’t in good shape,” he adds as the men see a horse with a brace of arrows planted in it (the ASPCA disclaimer about the horses not having been harmed flashes at the bottom of the screen at this point). “See that filly there?” the salesman asks, “We’d never sell you that horse.” The horse the salesman is pointing to is obviously a horse costume with two people inside. “You know why?” he asks and as we see the man at the head take off the horse mask and shake his head, he answers the question himself, “It ain’t right on the inside.” “We even got a money back guarantee,” the salesman concludes. At this moment the spot shifts scenes seamlessly to the modern day as two similar men walk conspicuously in front of a CarMax. “Oh,” the man who is the customer says, “It’s amazing no one’s thought of this before.” The spot cuts to a car max logo with the tagline, “The way buying should be.” [emphasis from spot copy].
We like this spot because it carefully lays out the brand positioning (‘a better buying experience’) while maintaining visual and story interest. The western set adds entertainment and intrigue to the spot but doesn’t distract from the message. Indeed, the obvious perils of trading in a used horse underlines the unsatisfactory state of the used car buying experience in the prospective buyer’s mind. This is a good example of a spot which is able to work in a number of relevant copy points without feeling too slow or looking like too much of a sale pitch.
CarMax doesn’t actually make its appearance to the end of this spot, which could make brand recognition harder although we believe most consumers will think of CarMax when the HorseMax name is first spoken. The pacing of this commercial is good, but not exceptionally brisk.
Branding Bottom Line:
CarMax would really have something if they could line-extend to SpouseMax, ChildMax and In-Law-Max.