With new car production down due to microchip shortages and supply chain issues, the used-car business for online retailers like Vroom is booming. To keep it booming, Vroom is going to need more cars, which is why the company is returning to the Super Bowl this year with an ad aimed at convincing consumers how easy it can be to part ways with their vehicles.
In the newly released 30-second commercial dubbed “Flake: The Musical,” a chorus of dancers surround a woman in celebration after she finds a buyer for her car. (Vroom enlisted “La La Land” choreographer Mandy Moore to choreograph the playful song-and-dance number.) Then, the notification hits: the buyer backed out. A moment later, she breathes a sigh of relief as a Vroom truck picks up her car, with a voiceover delivering the punchline, “Never deal with flaky buyers again.” The message, of course, is that in this time of uncertainty, Vroom will buy your car directly and make the whole transaction much simpler.
New automotive production fell by 16 percent in 2020, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. Vroom says it saw revenue increase 56 percent in 2020 from the year prior, and by the third quarter of 2021 revenue hit $701.7 million, up 216 percent year over year. Chief Marketing Officer Peter Scherr says the e-commerce model resonated with consumers during the pandemic as fewer wanted to shop for cars in physical spaces.
To keep up the growth this year, Vroom, which landed on Inc.’s Best-Led Company list in 2021, must maintain a robust inventory of cars. “The supply chain issues related to chips and new car inventory levels have absolutely made it essential for us to continue to support our inventory levels of used cars,” said Scherr.
In recent years, Vroom has attracted negative customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau and LinkedIn, with customers accusing the company of misrepresenting vehicles, issuing improper paperwork, and giving unsatisfactory customer service. “It’s not unusual for a very large consumer company like Vroom, which has thousands of transactions a month, that people, unfortunately, have had challenges with their transactions and will be vocal like that,” says Scherr. He went on to say the brand aims to “make right by the customer as best as possible.”
Building and maintaining consumers’ trust will be essential as Vroom aims to make the brand stand out in the highly competitive online used car-selling market, which is expected to grow from nearly $57 billion in 2020 to more than $140 billion in 2027.
Perhaps that’s why Vroom is betting on the Super Bowl, with its projected 90-million at-home viewers, to amplify its pitch. This year, on average brands are paying over $5 million for a 30-second spot.