Eliminating Co-Op Horror Stories

In honor of Halloween, we bring you Co-Op Horror Stories – and discuss how to get rid of them forever!


Brand compliance is of utmost importance in the world of automotive advertising – specifically, the monthly co-op process involving an auto dealer and its corporate entity. Even in the best of circumstances it’s an arduous process but it’s also a very necessary one, because the dealer depends on these dollars for day-to-day operations and future advertising.


How Co-Op Horror Stories Happen

At JKR, we hear no shortage of co-op horror stories from clients who have been burned by the process because they either attempted to handle co-op themselves or let an unqualified agency “handle” it for them. Some recent ones that come to mind include a dealer literally coming up $100 short on submitted co-op-able advertisements to get their quarterly funds; and another who got no co-op money because he was unaware how much he had to spend each quarter … and ended up short as a result.


Why is the co-op process so confusing? While a small handful of automotive brands don’t offer co-op funds, the vast majority do – and each has its own set of rules to be followed before they will disseminate any advertising dollars to the dealer. Some offer 100% reimbursement; some a 100%-50% split; and some exclusively 50%. Some require different terminology in ads depending upon model year. Some have brand-specific language that must be included in every ad. Some need third-party pre-approval in addition to corporate pre-approval. Most won’t allow “distress” language, except during certain holidays when it’s OK.


Get the picture? We could go on and on with the regulations!


For those not as familiar with co-op, here’s how it works in generalities: Before anything else, a script is sent to corporate for pre-approval. Why? Because if it’s rejected by corporate, it’s too late to make any changes after the fact … and a simple error like that could cost a dealer a significant amount of money!


After the pre-approval is obtained and the advertisement runs for the entire month on radio or TV – that’s when the real legwork begins. This includes acquiring every invoice from the selected radio and/or television stations … making sure the dates are correct … ensuring the dollar figures are correct … getting every script with the proper station stamps … making pdfs of video productions … and then sending all this to the corporate entity for reimbursement. If there are discrepancies, it requires phone calls and e-mails to station reps to find out why they occurred. There will also be times when numbers are over budget or significantly short, which requires additional investigation.


Every once in a while, the corporate entity will even approve an ad, only to change their minds later on after it’s been submitted.


As you can imagine, the co-op process takes a great deal of time and attention to detail … but our clients are worth it.


JKR’s account executives and billing experts make it their business to stay up-to-date on the latest co-op details for each client’s brand(s) – and we have clients in nearly all of them! We take the time necessary to make sure our clients understand what’s happening with their co-op funds and receive every penny they should.


Better still, even though we work within co-op guidelines, it doesn’t destroy our creativity! Despite these stringent rules and restrictions put in place by the corporate entities, JKR still produces topical, attention-getting advertisements featuring all the hooks that make people buy cars.


So if you want co-op treats without the corporate tricks, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at JKR. We’ll handle all the dirty work and let you focus on what you do best – sell cars! Give us a call today at (321) 397-0777 and find out how to make Co-Op Horror Stories a thing of the past.


JKR Automotive Advertising: The Car Dealer Ad Agency.