With the new year comes new advertising campaigns, and two of the giants in the used-vehicle business have launched theirs.

CarMax, one of the nation’s largest used-car retailers, announced a new commercial spot based around the much-maligned minivan, a vehicle that a few years ago was all but pronounced dead by USA Today.

But CarMax said its search data shows interest in minivans is alive and well — minivans were actually the company’s fastest-selling vehicle category from June to November 2023, reaching their highest sales volume in three years.

CarMax’s new ad plays on the demand for minivans by depicting a mother getting emotional about her son leaving the nest as she drops him off at college — until she gets an instant offer to sell her “mom van” to CarMax.

“Our car purchases often mirror the life stages we are entering and leaving,” CarMax said in a news release. “For Gen X parents preparing to send their kids off to college this spring, it might mean it’s time to ditch the family vehicle. And for millennial parents needing extra room, it might be time to trade in for a larger model. Call it the circle of car life.

“So, while the mom in our commercial is moving on, there are plenty other moms in a different life stage that are actively looking for this type of vehicle.”

CarGurus promotes ‘Your Car, Your Way’

CarGurus’ new brand campaign is called “Your Car, Your Way,” an extension of its 2023 “Get it With Gurus” campaign.

The new 2024 campaign illustrates the satisfying feeling of having everything happen exactly as you want it in buying or selling a car through CarGurus by showing what it might be like if you could have everything happen exactly as you’d want it in the rest of your life.

The spots emphasize the experience of drivers who are able to buy or sell a vehicle their way, whether that’s shopping online for the best deal from a dealership, receiving a competitive offer to sell an existing car virtually or financing online through CarGurus.

“We know consumer needs are evolving, with research showing a majority of car buyers and sellers are open to doing more online — but not necessarily everything,” CarGurus chief marketing officer Dafna Sarnoff said in a news release. “At CarGurus, we’re driven to transform what can be a tedious process into a delightful experience through omnichannel retail tools, transparent listing information and expert-informed reviews that put consumers in control while also enabling our dealer partners to better serve their customers.

“We love that this campaign captures how our platform can make you feel as that happens, and inspires viewers to feel supported in whatever path they choose.”

In the ad, a car shopper experiences a dreamlike sequence in which everything goes his way — like gliding over an otherwise painful children’s toy, landscaping with just the sip of a drink and enjoying a gourmet meal prepared by his toddler — to show what it feels like when shoppers “Get it with Gurus.”

“We all know the euphoric feeling of getting things exactly our way without compromise — a feeling that for most of us is all too rare,” said Sian Coole, creative director of DDB San Francisco, which developed the spots. “We wanted to show how CarGurus gives you that empowering feeling of control.”

CarGurus said its integrated campaign will run on TV networks and connected TV providers and will be supplemented with digital and social executions, including influencer programs.

In conjunction with the new brand campaign, CarGurus released its 2023 Shopping Your Way report, which includes new data on car shopping trends such as the most viewed new car listings, top wish-listed car models, most popular body styles, top viewed models by region and more.