Autotrader ad Kenan Thompson

In this commercial

TV Commercial Review

Heart or Humor


Star Power

Comedian Kenan Thompson is back in a new multimedia campaign for Autotrader, a Cox Automotive company. The campaign, developed by global marketing agency 72andSunny New York, aims to address the universal issue car buyers face: finding the right car at the right price. The campaign features Thompson in various settings, both fictional and real, alongside a variety of vehicles. He emphasizes that any car viewers see can be found on Autotrader. The campaign also showcases Autotrader’s tools that simplify the car-buying process, including “My Wallet,” allowing buyers to customize their monthly payments.

The Good

  • Star Power: Kenan Thompson’s comedic talent and widespread appeal add a layer of authenticity and relatability to the campaign.
  • Universal Issue: The campaign addresses a real problem that car buyers face, making it relatable and actionable.
  • Multi-Platform Approach: The campaign spans TV, digital, and social media, aiming to reach a broad audience.
Kenan Thompson is standing next to a police car.
Kenan Thompson is standing next to a police car in the new Autotrader ad

The Bad

  • Lack of Specifics: While the campaign is engaging, it lacks specific information about the cars available on Autotrader, which could leave consumers wanting more.
  • Repetition: This is the second campaign featuring Thompson, and while consistency can be good, it also risks becoming stale.
  • Market Saturation: The online car-buying market is crowded, and Autotrader faces stiff competition from other platforms.

Comparison with Competitors

  • Carvana’s User Experience: Carvana offers a seamless online car-buying experience, setting a high standard that Autotrader needs to match or exceed.
  • TrueCar’s Transparency: TrueCar focuses on providing transparent pricing information, a feature that Autotrader could consider incorporating.


Autotrader’s new campaign featuring Kenan Thompson is engaging and addresses a real issue, but it may need to offer more specifics to stand out in a crowded market truly.

A man is holding up a cell phone next to a Toyota SUV, showcasing the Auto Draft feature.
Autotrader ad ft Kenan Thompson holding up a cell phone next to a Toyota SUV

This is Autotrader’s second campaign fronted by the iconic entertainer, an extension of the brand creative and partnership that launched between Autotrader and Thompson in 2021. The previous campaign, “Only One Reason,” also by 72andSunny New York, featured Kenan buying a car from home with Autotrader.

Cars are literally everywhere – your favorite TV shows, movies, anytime you open your TikTok feed. Yet with ongoing vehicle shortages, the options seem limited these days,” said Geno Burmester, creative director at 72andSunny. “We wanted to lean into this tension and highlight Autotrader’s massive inventory of new and used cars. Because no matter where you look – if you see a car, you can find it on Autotrader. And of course, we were delighted to get the incredible Kenan Thompson back in the driver’s seat, and bring attention to this idea in a way only he can. And we were also fortunate to work with Jim Jenkins as the director, who is a master of comedy and elevated the work every step of the way.

Autotrader’s ongoing collaboration with Kenan has been a tremendous success, leveraging his comedic talent and widespread genuine appeal to connect our brand with car buyers of all ages while also leaning into creative and platforms targeted at younger audiences,” said Ken Kraft, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Cox Automotive. “Through high profile media placements and witty social media content, Kenan cleverly highlights the breadth of Autotrader’s inventory and budgeting tools by reiterating that if they see a car, they can easily find and buy it on Autotrader.”

How is Kenan Thompson?

Kenan Thompson is a name that has become synonymous with comedy, versatility, and longevity in the entertainment industry. Born on May 10, 1978, in Atlanta, Georgia, Thompson’s journey to stardom began at a young age. He first gained national attention as a child actor on the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show “All That,” where he showcased his comedic talent and versatility in various roles. His success on the show led to a spin-off, “Kenan & Kel,” co-starring Kel Mitchell, which further solidified his status as a young comedic talent to watch.

Thompson’s early success was not a flash in the pan but a precursor to a career that would span decades and break records. After his stint on Nickelodeon, he transitioned to film, appearing in movies like “Good Burger,” “Fat Albert,” and “Snakes on a Plane.” However, his move to “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 2003 would mark a significant milestone in his career. Thompson became the first African-American cast member to stay on the show for over a decade, breaking the record for the longest-tenured cast member in the show’s history.

His time on SNL has been nothing short of iconic. Thompson has portrayed many characters, from political figures like Al Sharpton to original characters like “Big Papi” David Ortiz. His ability to morph into any character while maintaining his unique comedic style has earned him critical acclaim, including a Primetime Emmy Award in 2018. His sketches often become viral sensations, contributing to the cultural zeitgeist and making him a household name.

But Thompson’s influence extends beyond SNL. He has ventured into other entertainment areas, including voice acting in popular shows like “The Awesomes” and “Sit Down, Shut Up.” He’s also returned to his roots in children’s programming by executive producing the revival of “All That,” giving a new generation the chance to experience the show that launched his career. In 2019, he took his talents to a new arena by becoming a judge on the comedy competition show “Bring the Funny,” further showcasing his expertise in the comedic arts.

Thompson’s impact is not limited to his professional achievements; he also advocates for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. He has spoken openly about the need for more diverse voices in comedy and has used his platform to elevate others. His longevity and success have paved the way for aspiring comedians, particularly those of color, proving that talent coupled with hard work can break barriers and set new standards.

In a world where fame can be fleeting, Kenan Thompson is a testament to the enduring power of talent, versatility, and authenticity. From his early days on “All That” to his record-breaking run on SNL, Thompson has not just survived in the entertainment industry; he has thrived. He has become more than just a comedian or an actor; he is a cultural icon whose influence will be felt for generations.




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