Phoenix Marketing International’s Recent Ad Tracking Research Names Hyundai, Mercedes, and Audi Automotive Super Bowl Winners

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Phoenix Marketing International Measures Lasting Impact of Automotive Super Bowl Ads

“Phoenix research has shown that demonstrating vehicle benefits is one of the best things you can do to promote your brand or your product. The message resonates all the more with non-luxury vehicle seekers if it is delivered in a relatable way.”

Phoenix Marketing International’s Automotive Practice reveals interesting findings on the best and worst automotive ads that aired during the 2013 Super Bowl. Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln, Mercedes, Toyota, and Volkswagen each aired at least one ad during this year’s big game. “Of course airing a Super Bowl ad is first and foremost about exposure,” notes Phoenix analyst Kevin Severance, “but airing an ad that makes people want to take action and that makes a positive impact after the game is also important for getting mileage out of the creative.”

Hyundai aired two ads during the 2013 Super Bowl, one ad promoting the turbo-charged Sonata sedan, the other sustaining the Santa Fe crossover. Mercedes’ main attraction was a spot announcing the launch of the CLA – a brand new model that Mercedes claims would start under $30,000. Audi devoted its airtime to promoting overall brand image with the tagline “Bravery. It’s what defines us.” Other ads included in the analysis were for the Kia Forte and Kia Sorento, the Toyota RAV4, the Lincoln Motor Company (brand image) and re-designed MKZ, as well as another brand image ad from Volkswagen.

The ads were tested as part of the on-going Phoenix Automotive Brand and Advertising Tracker, in which ads are evaluated by recent vehicle buyers and near- and medium-term vehicle purchase intenders in the market for relevant vehicle types. The ads in this analysis were ranked based on Phoenix’s modeled Creative AdPi® metric, which measures how well an ad’s creative execution influences ad recall and persuades viewers to take action. Creative AdPi® is comprised of 24 unique diagnostics, and individual ad scores are compared to segmented industry norms made up by the scores of top spend ads simultaneously airing in the market, so ads for non-luxury brands were compared to a non-luxury ad norm and likewise for the luxury brands.

The two Hyundai spots stood out as they were the only non-luxury ads to score statistically higher than the non-luxury industry norm on Creative AdPi®. All non-luxury brand Super Bowl ads successfully engaged viewers because they were clever, entertaining, unique, or humorous. However, what set the Hyundai ads apart was that in addition to engaging viewers in multiple ways, viewers also found them to be much more relevant and impactful because the ads directly addressed important issues and depicted identifiable characters in relatable scenarios. Analyst Severance comments, “Phoenix research has shown that demonstrating vehicle benefits is one of the best things you can do to promote your brand or your product. The message resonates all the more with non-luxury vehicle seekers if it is delivered in a relatable way.”

A similar story emerged in the luxury segment, where Mercedes’ and Audi’s ads’ creative performance scored significantly higher than the industry norm, and they too engaged viewers by being clever, entertaining, unique, and humorous. The difference in messaging that set the top luxury ads apart was that they made an impact by moving the audience and showing them a desirable vehicle. Severance comments, “Luxury vehicle seekers are more attuned to the ‘intangibles’ of vehicle ownership. Vehicle features and benefits should also be demonstrated, but the message lands better in the luxury category with a heavier focus on desirability, aspiration, and inspiration. Mercedes and Audi did just that with their Super Bowl spots this year.”

Phoenix has reported before that consumers of non-luxury vehicles tend to respond favorably to vehicle and feature demonstrations in ads. These most recent results echo previous findings from their annual Best of 2012 Automotive Advertising report and underscore the need for thoughtful messaging. Phoenix has also explored consumer sentiment among high income households in their Affluent Automotive Tracker, the findings of which support the success of Mercedes’ and Audi’s Super Bowl ads. Both of these reports are available at the link below.

To view any of Phoenix Marketing International’s recent Automotive Practice reports, please click here.

Results for the Super Bowl ad analysis as well as the Best of 2012 Automotive Advertising report originated from the on-going Phoenix Automotive Brand and Advertising Tracker. Through it, Phoenix measures advertising performance across five vehicle categories (non-luxury car, non-luxury CUV/SUV, truck, luxury car, and luxury CUV/SUV) and tracks the brand health of leading automotive companies in two segments (luxury and non-luxury). Data are collected monthly from 1800+ U.S. consumers who have recently purchased or are currently in the market for a new vehicle. Brands tracked for advertising and brand data include Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Range Rover, Saab, Scion, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Data for the Affluent Auto Tracker were collected in December 2012 from among affluent US households (levels of affluence determined by a combination of annual household income and measure of investable assets). The following brands were included in the study: Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Cadillac, Ferrari, Fisker, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Maybach, Mercedes, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla.

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Brian Maraone
Phoenix Marketing International
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