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CENTREVILLE, Va. — Carfax has rolled out the second installment of its national "Show Me the Carfax" TV ad campaign to help steer shoppers to stores that provide Carfax Vehicle History Reports. 

And playing a major role in the advertising efforts will be a furry, four-legged friend: Car Fox.   

The fox character first appeared as a puppet in a spot in the first wave of "Show Me the Carfax" ads.

This time, the fox "comes to life and appears whenever consumers and dealers are brought together," officials noted. The fox will be on every Carfax Report and will have a presence in the Carfax.com Web site, where he will share how vital these reports are.

In the TV spots — which have a humorous slant — the Car Fox will remind shoppers to say "Show Me the Carfax" before any purchase is completed.

Officials emphasized that consumers need to know not only "what" they're purchasing, but know the "who"  — i.e., the dealer from whom they're buying — as well.

As such, Carfax is also offering dealers free marketing materials that include the Car Fox. Moreover, if dealers wish to incorporate Car Fox and the "Show Me the Carfax" message in their own marketing campaigns, Carfax is also providing a resource kit that enables them to do so.

"Used-car shoppers want reassurance that they're making a smart buying decision," said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. "Free Carfax Reports linked to vehicles listed for sale online greatly influence a buyers' dealership choice and were viewed more than 85 million times last year alone.

"We expect that teaming up the Car Fox with reputable dealers will boost customer traffic and help them close more deals," Gamache continued. "He's lending a helping hand, or paw, to give buyers what they need to sign on the dotted line."

The Car Fox will also have his very own Facebook page and Twitter feed, which is part of the full-scale social-media campaign the company has launched.

All of the ads have been uploaded to Carfax's Facebook page, its YouTube channel as well as other social media sources.

Carfax.com includes both the new and original "Show Me the Carfax" ads.

Moving along, the company also shared some dealer perspective.

"Carfax has done a great job allowing us to take full advantage of the 'Show Me the Carfax' campaign that attracts customers to our lot," stated Tom Needham, Internet manager at Larry Miller Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

"We currently build a packet for every used car that has a copy of the shop bill, an emissions test, a Kelley Blue Book print out of retail price and, most important, a Carfax Report," he added.

"We keep these packets in every vehicle so we can disclose everything to each customer during the vehicle presentation," Needham continued. "It definitely gives the customer a more secure feeling knowing everything is disclosed up front and has increased our used gross average."

Offering his thoughts, Michael Burgo, general manager at Turnersville Kia, noted: "We display Carfax throughout our Turnersville Kia dealership. Since everyone is already saying 'Show Me the Carfax,' this really helps to build our customers' confidence.

"We use the Carfax Report as a selling tool as well as a buying tool. We are able to protect our customers by showing them the vehicle's history as well as disclose if the vehicle had any accidents or if an airbag deployed.  In addition, we can adjust the ACV of the vehicle based on the vehicle's history," he concluded. 

Background on Campaign

Explaining the "Show Me the Carfax" campaign in more detail, officials noted that the Zimmerman Advertising, based out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., created the new advertisements. The Car Fox character, which was a hand-held puppet in the original ads, is now "an animatronic animal with an attitude."

His design is much more complex, as it now takes five people to operate the puppet.  

Zimmerman worked with the Legacy Effects studio to create new Car Fox. Legacy Effects headed up the special effects in such movies as Iron Man, Predator and Avatar. 

"We found that the puppet featured in the first part of this campaign generated tremendous results for Carfax," said Zev Auerbach, creative partner at Zimmerman Advertising.

"Dealers around the country have already embraced the Car Fox, so we decided to make him the focus of the new ads," Auerbach added. "We've transformed him from accomplice to advocate. He's now a puppet with a purpose."