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David Soul partners Flat Eric in £5m Auto Trader ad

LONDON - 'Starsky & Hutch' star David Soul gets punched by Levi's mascot Flat Eric in a star-studded £5m campaign for Auto Trader, created by J Walter Thompson.

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The advertisement is based on the idea of finding the perfect partner, and sets up a number of mis-matched pairings. June Whitfield finds herself with the wrong Terry -- Terry Christian -- while Soul's 'Starsky & Hutch' co-star Paul Michael Glaser has been replaced by cheeky puppet Flat Eric, who punches the Soul on the nose.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson is shown swapping city life for a horse ranch, while jockey Frankie Dettori attempts saddle up a greyhound. The ad also pairs a mod with a rocker.

The campaign is the first created by JWT after it was appointed to the Auto Trader account last October.

The "Perfect Partners" campaign was devised after extensive research revealed the bond people have with their cars goes beyond the functional and is very emotional. It aims to broaden Auto Trader's appeal beyond the core audience of experienced car buyers and sellers.

The commercial was written by John Donnelly, art directed by Billy Mawhinney and directed by Luke Forsythe of Small Family Business.

Matt Thompson, the marketing director of Trader Media Group, said: "We believe this campaign will create a real buzz. The ads are fun, contemporary and make a strong statement of how we want the Auto Trader brand to be seen."

Versions of the television ad will appear on ITV, Channel 4, Five and numerous satellite stations starting on September 1. Auto Trader will also run posters, a trade press campaign, point-of-sale material and media relations using humorous research compiled from a survey of the magazine's readers.

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