we quickly turned the frog into “The Frog”. Not only did we bring The Frog back to the commercials, we ordered a stuffed frog to giveaway that looked like The Frog on television. Our customers loved it! From that day forward, we have given a stuffed frog to every customer who wanted one.

The Frog became an integral part of the Preston Automotive Group family and a frog image has even been incorporated in our logo. Now The Frog can be seen visiting various community and civic events as well as at dealership events. The Frog also continues to enjoy starring in some of the dealership commercials.

One of the sayings so many Americans are familiar with is Walt Disneys famous statement, It all started with a mouse. However, for the Preston Automotive Group, we could say it all started with a frog.

The year was 1984 and we were trying to come up with a new sales promotion. Our competitors were giving away big items like televisions and trips. Back in those days, giveaways like that were just added to the cost of the vehicle. At Preston Ford, we prided ourselves on our great pricing, so we didnt want to do any promotion that was going to force us to increase costs to the customer.

We started brainstorming ideas with our local television station (WBOC) and in a light moment, we said since it is a leap year, why don’t we give away a free frog? After some discussion, we decided to create a commercial around that idea. In the very first “frog” commercial, Dave Wilson can be seen reaching into a box for the frog.

The commercial aired February 1st and we were completely unprepared for what happened next. Customers immediately started asking for the frog. We had no idea that people would take the commercial seriously. We jumped on the phone with our sales representative at the television station and said, “We need some frogs – fast!” Of course, he thought we were pulling his leg. In short order we convinced him we were not kidding – that people were coming from all over to get a frog. He was in Salisbury at the time, but he assured us he would leave right away and bring us some frogs. What kinds of frogs he was going to bring and where he was going to get them, we hadn’t a clue. Within a short period of time, our sales rep arrived with some frogs he picked up at a five and dime.

With the frog giveaway turning out to be such a hit, later that spring we introduced a commercial with Dave talking to a frog puppet. Now Dave wasn’t totally sold on this idea, in fact, he thought is was kind of corny. By this time, for our giveaway we had moved up from the dime store frog to a cement frog costing about 50 cents. After a few commercials of talking to the frog however, Dave wanted to do something else.

Again, we were not prepared for what happened when the frog went off the air. Letters and phone calls poured in to the dealership. People missed the frog and demanded its return. Amazed at the loyal following the frog had developed,