Suburban Auto Group: Trunk Monkey campaign

Kevin Teague


In 2003 Carlson Chevrolet Co., Inc., a Chevrolet car dealership located in Sandy, Oregon, just a few miles southeast of Portland, represented the Chevrolet-selling half of the Suburban Auto Group. On the other side of U.S. Highway 26 the car dealership Suburban Ford, Inc., represented the Ford-selling half. Nancy Jaksich controlled the Chevrolet dealership, and her husband, Jerry Jaksich, managed Suburban Ford. Compared to other dealerships in Oregon, the Suburban Auto Group was "not even in the top 10 in terms of money spent on advertising by car dealers in the Portland area," reported the Portland Business Journal. Hoping to stand out amongst the clutter of local car dealership advertising, the Suburban Auto Group launched its "Trunk Monkey" campaign.

"Trunk Monkey" was created by the ad agency R/West for less than $50,000. The campaign's first spot, "Road Rage," cost only $3,000 and debuted during the 2003 Super Bowl in the Portland region. The 30-second spot featured a timid man cowering inside his Ford sedan while another man berated him from outside the sedan's driver-side window. When apologies did not placate the raging man outside, the man inside the car pressed a button labeled "Trunk Monkey." Suddenly a chimpanzee wielding a tire iron emerged from his trunk and clobbered the road-raging loudmouth. The Suburban Auto Group's logo then appeared while a voice-over explained, "The Trunk Monkey. A revolutionary idea you'll find only at Suburban Auto Group—pending approval by the attorney general." The campaign featured five more "Trunk Monkey" spots and one radio advertisement.