local media insider

Case study: How Tucson Subaru used the local news media to sell $497,000 in pre-owned cars

Thinking outside the box to meet local advertising needs


Name of paper: Arizona Daily Star’s website Tucson.com

Key executives: Tom Birmingham, Advertising Sales Manager Allyn Hill, Automotive and Real Estate Manager 

Initiative: Used Car Virtual Auto Sale

Technology: Wehaa


Challenge: When the Daily Star approached their local Subaru dealer to participate in a Virtual Tent Sale they were faced with an unfamiliar challenge. New Subarus are in such demand that the local Subaru dealer can't keep them on the lot, providing a challenge to the Arizona Daily Star advertising team. However, the interest in new Subarus was also creating a backlog of trade-ins, and they had a total of 17 certified pre-owned cars they were interested in selling faster. The sales rep was able to convince the dealer to participate by promoting only their CPOs (certified pre-owns).

Strategy: To stage a blow-out sale of used car inventory, the group staged a Summer Sell-Off Virtual Tent Event from September 14 to September 30 on Wehaa's Virtual Sales Event (VSE) platform. 

The  initiative  included all the standard components for a successful VSE: 

  • A landing page with a carousel of all certified pre-owned vehicles placed as a subdomain of the newspaper website, Tucson.com.

  • Dynamic inventory banner ads that only promoted the CPOs running on Tucson.com’s website during the sales event, reaching 100,000 impressions. 

  • Social Media Integration: Dynamic inventory carousel ads for Facebook & Instagram with geo & behavioral targeted traffic buy.

  • Both the promotions utilize Wehaa’s feed-less integration and direct click-through technology that redirects all clicks to the dealer’s vehicle detail page (VDP).

  • Local call-tracking included

  • Analytics reports with Google API data included 

To split the cost of advertising, managers created a multi-dealer event, and incorporated an RV dealer and used car dealer into the event. 

While some virtual automotive sales use the reverse to print technology to create print advertising support, the dealers elected to create promotions online only without print. Instead, the promotional materials touted the strength of Tuscon.com, with millions of page views from 75,000 unique users. 


  • While the Subaru dealership typically sells three to four pre-owned cars a week, the first week, they sold out all 17 pre-owned cars and decided to find more inventory. They found four more cars and sold those out in the next couple of days.

  • The campaign generated 46,463 dealer impressions, 357 VDP clicks and 206,058 automotive impressions. 

  • The 21 cars sold during the course of the sale generated $497,000 for the dealer. 

  • The 2-week event was so successful the dealership has also requested quotes to run the inventory banners ads all year. Wehaa was able to get pre-approval for co-op compliance on the CPO banners.


Virtual Sales Event, Local Media, Wehaa, Arizona Daily Star, Car Sales