Possibly the Best Dealership Marketing Dollars Ever Spent

Written by Christine Fischer – Director of Automotive Programs, American Solutions for Business

Every now and then, fate smiles down in times of challenge. It just so happened that in March 2020, fate smiled upon Seth Wadley Auto Group of Oklahoma. Years ago, when the group’s Ford store in Pauls Valley (allegedly) sponsored an internet-broadcasted zoo rehabilitation program, they were likely anticipating a regional reach and modest ROI. Little did they know, the host and operator would be the main subject of a highly anticipated Netflix documentary that aired during the largest quarantine in modern history, shown primarily wearing their promo hat.

The simple 6-panel, structured black baseball cap with red edge accents and 3 decoration locations adorns the marvelously mulleted head of Joe Exotic, former owner and proprietor of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Unless you have completely unplugged during COVID-19, you have at least heard of the Tiger King and his arch nemesis, Carole Baskin. The documentary was instantly infused into pop culture, and by association, so was Seth Wadley Auto Group. Demand for the hat grew overnight and you can now buy one on the auto group’s website for $30. Rumor has it the dealer group has orders from 79 countries. All proceeds for the month of April are being donated to Toby Keith Foundation’s OK Kid Korral.


The auto group has achieved infinite impressions with one simple promotional product. Granted, it was mostly luck that made this happen, but one cannot discount the foresight that Seth Wadley Ford had when they chose to spend part of their marketing budget on hats. Apparel has the highest ROI among promotional products (and sometimes, unimaginably high ROI), study after study shows that people value apparel gifts more.

Apparel accounts for approximately 35% of all promotional products sold in the United States every year. 85% of individuals can recall the brand associated with an apparel promotional product. Logoed hats garner, on average 3,400 impressions, and logoed jackets even more.


Promotional products are the gift that keeps on giving, 21% of recipients will keep the item, 55% will give it to a friend or family member, and if favored by luck, your promo item could be worn by a reality super-star.

We hear repeatedly how consumers are looking for a unique experience from their purchases. One way for dealerships to accomplish this is through apparel gifting. Whether it’s gift-with-purchase or test-drive or sponsoring a community event and incorporating t-shirts into the idea, you can drive brand recognition up and cost-per-impression down by choosing apparel. Not all apparel is created equal. With today’s conscientious consumer, you have several factors to consider beyond price of the piece, including quality, decoration method, style, ethics of the source, and more.

Next, you’ll need to match the apparel type with the lifestyle of the recipient. Buyers of trucks and SUVs tend to live outdoor lifestyles; for them we may recommend a hooded sweatshirt with an embroidery over screen print decoration to heighten perceived value. For luxury car owners, something elegant and simple, like a black t-shirt with black foil decoration will wow the recipient. With so many options having a promotional products expert, like the sales associates here at American Solutions for Business, on your team to help you navigate through will lead you to the best items to suit your intended purpose and ensure the highest ROI.

I’m sure the fine folks at Seth Wadley Auto Group are extremely satisfied with the performance of their promotional products program, especially considering that it has helped to keep them relevant during a very difficult economic time for dealerships. Their ROI will only continue to grow as everyday citizens adorn their hats on Halloween when thousands will no-doubt be dressed as Joe Exotic. For any other day of the year, perhaps they’ll be wearing their new favorite shirt, given to them by your dealership.

To begin developing your high-impact apparel program today, contact your ASB associate. Don’t have one? Click here.

Learn more about American Solutions for Business at http://www.americanbus.com.

#TigerKing #CaroleBaskin #promo #apparel #dealership #marketing

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