What's the Secret to a Highly Effective Auto Ad?

Five IAG Automotive Winners Dish on Their Creative Do's and Don'ts

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Creating "a narrative about the vehicle that connects with consumers,"
Honda's 'Troll' spot for its Pilot model won IAG's Most Liked Ad award at the New York Auto Show.
Honda's 'Troll' spot for its Pilot model won IAG's Most Liked Ad award at the New York Auto Show.
said Sallie Hirsch, VP-research at IAG Automotive. That, at least, was one common characteristic of the auto ads chosen last week by IAG at New York's Auto Show as the most effective of 2006.

Ad Age asked five of the winners for their advice on how to put together an effective auto ad -- and what to avoid.

Tom Peyton, senior manager-national advertising, Honda
DO: ENTERTAIN. "Consumers are generally more receptive to a single, clear message if they are effectively engaged and entertained in the process."
DON'T believe there are marketing silver bullets.

Deborah Meyer, VP-marketing, Toyota Motor Sales USA's Lexus Division
DO: BE INSIGHTFUL. "[Effective advertising] has to be about the vehicle and with an insight about the car that makes it really relevant."
"DON'T always try to do the new for the [sake of the] new—a new technique in filming or visual."

Jan Thompson, VP-marketing, Nissan North America
DO: CONNECT. "To have consistency with your overall brand positioning, you have to have a single-minded focus on what it is you are trying to communicate and do it in a way that connects emotionally with your target audience, which sounds easier than it is."
DON'T cram too much into 30 seconds. Use TV strategically. "Today there are many alternative mediums that can support your TV message that can help make the entire communication plan more effective."

Kim McCullough, corporate manager-marketing communications, Toyota Division
DO: BREAK THROUGH THE CLUTTER. Develop "distinctive communications that are simple, single-minded and relevant to the target."
DON'T "create your own clutter by trying to say too much in one communication."

Kurt Schneider, general manager-creative content, Volkswagen of America
DO: COMMUNICATE A RELEVENT BRAND BENEFIT in an unexpected, emotional context. Mr. Schneider cited VW's "Safe Happens" campaign, which he said broke through because it took a rational benefit and communicated it in real-life, emotional way. "We struck up a new conversation by making safety personally relevant to our target."
DON'T be like everybody else. "You're competing for consumer attention in an entertainment-rich environment, so despite your brand strengths and product benefits, if you do not communicate them in a way that connects with your audience, draws them into the story, you're simply tuned out."
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