It's the Story Behind the Car That Counts -- Not the Ribbon on Top

Auto Marketers' Holiday Sales Ads Aren't So Effective, Says Analysis

By Published on .

Lose the bows.

In a rather Scrooge-esque report released by advertising evaluation firm Ace Metrix, creative spots for new luxury model automobiles that hyped the holiday have failed to perform effectively in the fourth quarter of 2011 so far. One of the exceptions, in the non-luxury category, was Chevrolet, which received high scores from Ace for its "First Hundred Years" 60-second spot. Seems that ads that harness some emotional response work best.

"It's astounding that four of the 'top 10' luxury automobile ads were below norm," said Ace Metrix CEO, Peter Daboll. He called it a sign that "many automotive brands have stepped away from good creative and fallen back on 'Buy it now, you idiot' messaging wrapped up in sales events and bows."

Some of the consumers surveyed pulled no punches about wraps, bows and romance on the snow-covered driveways. Reacting to the current Lexus "December to Remember" campaign, one respondent said, "People don't buy other people cars, and even if they did, do you think hearing one annoying jingle would really clue them into the fact they were getting a new car? No!"

"When we started looking at cars with bows and yet another Toytathon, it was enough, already," Mr. Daboll said. "To suggest that someone buy a Lexus for his spouse in these economic times..."

Scoring about the company's measured norm -- the range is from zero to 950 points, taking into account relevance, persuasion and watchability -- were spots from BMW, Audi and Cadillac. Mr. Daboll said that story-telling ads, specifically those from Chevrolet and BMW, were judged particularly effective, as opposed to spots that focused on sales events.

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