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Journalism and Brand Marketing Find Their “Sweet Spot” in Automotive Content

Automotive writer and social influencer Doug DeMuro has moved his talents to start a new car enthusiast webpage/blog for Autotrader. The relationship appears to be turning into a successful venture for others brands to take note of.

Automotive journalist Doug DeMuro recently took his satirical YouTube videos and witty prose to Autotrader, a site used for buying and selling cars. This is an increasingly common narrative whereby a successful writer and social influencer joins forces with a brand to deploy content marketing initiatives aimed at increasing daily website traffic and ultimately selling more cars.
In this case DeMuro is bringing a substantial online audience along for the ride, which he’s grown organically in three years writing and videotaping for Jalopnik, a news and opinion website for car enthusiasts backed by Gawker Media. His new car enthusiast page on Autotrader, Oversteer, is touted by DeMuro as “more than just automotive news and car reviews.”
Competition for readers across automotive commentators and news sites is fierce. With over 165,000 subscribers on YouTube, DeMuro likely appealed to Autotrader for his follower base as much as for his content. Autotrader scooped him up and appears to be providing the editorial latitude he needs to keep his material fun, edgy, entertaining, and useful to online readers.
In one of his more recent videos for Autotrader “Can you Daily Drive an Aston Martin?” he sits in rush hour traffic to assess what a daily commute would look like, and takes a shopping spree through The Home Depot to see if the car can transport a modest shopping trip’s worth of materials. This leads to the conclusion that the Aston Martin is not the ideal vehicle for daily driving, a message Autotrader might not typically be fond of communicating. The site is, after all, trying to sell cars.
“Autotrader has given me their full support to ensure that this is as exciting and ridiculous and as funny as ever,” DeMuro says in a YouTube video announcing his new blog.
This Aston martin shoot is not unlike a video he produced while on staff at Jalopnik titled “You Don’t Want to Drive a Ferrari Every Day.” The Ferrari happened to be a “Doug Car,” where he asks his followers to vote on the car he should buy, he buys it, and then for a year he reports on every single aspect of what it’s like to own that car. In one video cataloging his time as a Ferrari owner, “Running Errands in a Ferrari 360 Modena,” he’s seen cruising through the city with a 47-inch flat screen television tied to the roof. It’s hilarious material.

With this kind of editorial autonomy, the marriage between DeMuro and Autotrader should be mutually beneficial. Impactful content marketing is most successful when it’s perceived as authentic. If customers trust the brand’s content, they in return show more trust for the brand. DeMuro can help the company sell cars, but it won’t be a unilateral transaction.
His job is to entertain and to help showcase Autotrader’s knowledge of the industry. If he’s successful, Autotrader organically improves its visibility on the Internet, grows its daily user base, and opens more opportunities for inexperienced car shoppers to learn about the brand via well-ranking content and word-of-mouth social chatter.

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