Riverhead car dealer Mark Calisi is using an unusual technique for getting the name of his Eagle Chevrolet before the public; he inked a deal with a friend who runs a food distribution business to put an Eagle ad on the sides of seven of the company's 70 box trucks.
Mark Schienberg, president of the 400-plus member Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, says he’s pretty sure he’s never before seen a car dealer place ads on another company’s vehicles — though he’s not surprised.
“That’s what's great about car dealers,” he said. “They’re such good marketing people. It’s a very, very shrewd idea.”
The other company in this case is J. Kings Food Service Professionals of Holtsville, which delivers the food and snacks that Calisi offers customers on a complimentary basis.
“I did it because advertising is so expensive and I wanted to get my message out there,” said Calisi. He said he’s known owner John King of the food service company for years.
The first ads were placed on the trucks about two weeks ago, said Calisi, and, by June, he hopes to have them on about half of King’s trucks.
He did not disclose details of the arrangement but said, “It’s great for him [King] in that it offsets some of his costs and it’s very cost-effective for me. It’s a moving billboard we can do a lot of things with.”
Calisi says King's trucks routinely travel throughout Nassau, Suffolk and the five boroughs.
No shrinking violet, Calisi is still embroiled in a well-publicized battle with Chrysler over the return of his franchise to sell Chrysler and Jeep brand cars and trucks in Riverhead.
He also retails Kias, Mazdas and Volvos nearby at his Eagle Auto Mall.