SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Jaguar and Land Rover have committed to mobile buys worth a collective $1.6 million for 2009, according to AdMob, the ad network that has been tapped to run the automakers' mobile campaigns. The luxury auto brands will split the budget to run mobile campaigns on AdMob's U.S. network.
By any stretch, $800,000 for a single brand to spend on mobile in the U.S. is impressive and even more so for niche, luxury brands in recessionary times. The magnitude of the ad buy is also remarkable, as mobile is still considered an emerging medium in some quarters and experimental in others.
But the large budget being allocated to mobile -- about 10% to 20% of the brands' total digital outlay -- isn't coming at the expense of other media spend.
'Back to performance'
"It goes back to performance," said Joao Machado, digital group director at Mindshare, the agency of record for Jaguar and Land Rover. "[Mobile] performed from a direct-marketing perspective, so with that in mind, it was easier to rationalize growth even in the climate we're in."
Mr. Machado said he believes that consumers will increasingly access the web from mobile handsets. Weather, movie and news channels have delivered for Jaguar and Land Rover, he said, because affluent people on the go are using their smartphones to dial into content they're used to getting from the internet.
AdMob can also target ads to smartphones, with the logic that iPhone and Blackberry users tend to be more affluent and use their handsets to stay connected as they travel and play.
Jaguar and Land Rover, acquired from Ford Motor Co. by India's Tata Motors last year, first advertised in the channel in 2007. Last year, Land Rover's primary goal for its mobile campaign was to build purchase consideration; this year, Jaguar and Land Rover are looking to mobile advertising to generate awareness and drive response.
A direct-response tool
"When we started in mobile, we thought it was going to be an awareness tool, but it turned out to be more of a direct-response tool," Mr. Machado said. Still, he thinks it can do both. And this year, he said, "is going to be about pushing the creative, as much as we can ... a way for us to extend the various content we have around those brands."
The $1.6 million going to AdMob represents 60% of the carmakers' total mobile budget. It's the biggest deal the network has nabbed; typically, it sees single campaigns with a price tag between $50,000 to $100,000. Autos accounted for nearly one in every five dollars AdMob took in last quarter.
Buys of this magnitude aren't unprecedented -- and they should become more commonplace this year, said Eric Bader, managing partner of Brand in Hand.
"Million-dollar-total campaign budgets are not totally unusual and will become more typical in the coming quarters," Mr. Bader said. "The smaller scale of most buys of the last few years has not been in rational proportion to the growth of mobile audiences and interaction rates with mobile advertising."
Land Rover spent $63 million on domestic measured media in the first nine months of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Jaguar spent $38 million over the same period. By contrast, General Motors Corp. spent $1.6 billion in U.S. measured media for the first nine months of 2008.