Comedian Kenan Thompson returns in new Autotrader US campaign


Comedian and entertainer Kenan Thompson stars in a new multi-media campaign released today by Autotrader, a Cox Automotive company.

Inclusive of video, digital and social creative, the new campaign, “If You See a Car, Find It on Autotrader,” from global marketing agency 72andSunny New York addresses a universal issue for today’s car buyers: finding the car they want with pricing to fit their budget.

The creative showcases Autotrader as the brand with the largest car inventory, enabling shoppers to easily find the new and used cars they see on TV, in movies, in their social feeds and in real life, all with pricing personalised to them.

Kenan Thompson

In the 30-, 15- and six-second spots, Thompson appears in recognisable fictional and real-life settings alongside a variety of new and used vehicles.

While bringing each scene to life with his big personality, Thompson reminds viewers that every car they see – and plenty more off screen – can be found on Autotrader.

The campaign illustrates the ease and convenience that come with purchasing a car on Autotrader by showcasing tools that make it simple like My Wallet, a tool from Autotrader’s sister company Kelley Blue Book, which allows buyers to customise their monthly payments based on their personalised information.

“Autotrader’s ongoing collaboration with Kenan has been a tremendous success, leveraging his comedic talent and widespread genuine appeal to connect our brand with car buyers of all ages while also leaning into creative and platforms targeted at younger audiences,” said Ken Kraft, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Cox Automotive.

“Through high profile media placements and witty social media content, Kenan cleverly highlights the breadth of Autotrader’s inventory and budgeting tools by reiterating that if they see a car, they can easily find and buy it on Autotrader.”

In addition to the TV and digital spots, the campaign also features Thompson in a Q&A series on social media, where Autotrader aims to reach younger car buyers.

Sitting behind the wheel of a parked vehicle, a place where many content creators film their social media posts, Thompson infuses his signature humour into answers for some of the most-asked car-buying questions.

For example, in response to a question regarding how someone can buy a car online, he quips, “It’s kind of like buying pants online, except you go to and buy your car online.”

Thompson provides answers in his own style to other common car shopping questions, including how to deal with all the paperwork associated with buying a car and whether people should switch to an electric vehicle (EV).

“Consumer data shows our partnership with Kenan resonates with car shoppers, not only in recall and sentiment, but also in driving increased awareness and traffic to Autotrader among new audiences,” said Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing at Cox Automotive.

“Autotrader continues to foster exceptional brand engagement fuelled in part by Kenan’s charisma along with our commitment to helping shoppers easily find and buy the car they want.”

This is Autotrader’s second campaign fronted by the iconic entertainer, an extension of the brand creative and partnership that launched between Autotrader and Thompson in 2021.

The previous campaign, “Only One Reason,” also by 72andSunny New York, featured Kenan buying a car from home with Autotrader.

“Cars are literally everywhere – your favourite TV shows, movies, anytime you open your TikTok feed. Yet with ongoing vehicle shortages the options seem limited these days,” said Geno Burmester, creative director at 72andSunny.

“We wanted to lean into this tension and highlight Autotrader’s massive inventory of new and used cars. Because no matter where you look – if you see a car, you can find it on Autotrader.

“And of course, we were delighted to get the incredible Kenan Thompson back in the driver’s seat, and bring attention to this idea in a way only he can.

“And we were also fortunate to work with Jim Jenkins as the director, who is a master of comedy and elevated the work every step of the way.”

Autotrader will also partner with social media influencers through the end of the year to reinforce their massive inventory while complementing the campaign thematic.

Influencers will share real stories about a car they saw and wanted and show how they found it on Autotrader. One influencer, Charlize Glass, even appears in one of the 15-second My Wallet commercials dancing alongside Kenan Thompson.

Influencers featured in the campaign were recruited from the wider influencer world ensuring the campaign reaches a broader range of audiences and social communities.

The campaign will begin running in the United States from today, 12 September across television, streaming, digital, social and audio.

The ads were directed by Jim Jenkins through O Positive, with director of photography Trent Opaloch.