Phoenix Marketing International Announces 2012 Best Practices in Automotive Advertising

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Volkswagen Ads Continue to Win Non-Luxury Car Consumers and Infiniti’s JX Launch Campaign Successfully Engages Luxury SUV Consumers

Phoenix Marketing International, a top US market research firm, has reported its findings on “best practices” in automotive TV advertising from 2012. The analysis was conducted using quantitative and qualitative data collected from over 70,000 evaluations of 385 unique TV ads.

This year’s report echoes findings from last year in the non-luxury car category that consumers like being informed about fuel-efficient vehicles. Four of the top five performing ads from 2012 primarily focus on the message of fuel efficiency or promote hybrid vehicles. Volkswagen, who also had top spots in the previous report, had another pair of ads make the top five in 2012 by demonstrating how TDI clean diesel technology in the Jetta and Passat gives drivers extended fuel range – in one of the ads, the range is long enough for two guys on a road trip to become fluent in Spanish before having to refill the gas tank. Phoenix findings show that it is the ads’ creative method of vehicle demonstration that elevated them to the best in the category.

Both of the Volkswagen spots scored significantly higher than the industry norm on Phoenix’s creative ad performance index (Creative AdPI©), which measures how well an ad’s creative execution influences ad recall and persuades viewers to take action. Phoenix creative metrics show that the ads accomplish this by engaging the audience in a humorous, clever, and entertaining way, by addressing important issues (fuel economy), and by showing relatable characters in familiar situations (father and son on a road trip in one ad; two friends on a road trip in the other). Phoenix analyst Kevin Severance summarizes, “In short, the ads use a funny, relatable storyline to keep your attention while at the same time informing viewers about something they want to know.” Humorous demonstrations of fuel efficiency worked for Volkswagen in the non-luxury car category, but most top ads within the luxury SUV category had a serious tone and concentrated on safety.

Infiniti succeeded with the best performing luxury SUV ad of 2012, a spot for the launch of the brand new JX model. Like the Volkswagen ads, the ad for the JX draws viewers in with a relatable scene and provides information on a vehicle feature with an impactful demonstration. While backing out of the driveway, the vehicle’s reverse collision prevention system detects an unseen child approaching the moving vehicle and automatically applies the brakes; thus averting potential disaster. Although this ad wasn’t significantly more entertaining than other luxury SUV ads, it was propelled to the top because it engaged viewers by being clever and unique; it also made a strong cognitive connection by being believable, informative, and meaningful. Moreover, the ad received significantly high scores compared to the industry norm on attributes that measure how much of an impact the ad makes and whether it is worth seeing again or worth talking about.

Phoenix will present additional in-depth analysis of the luxury SUV segment as well as results from the top performing non-luxury SUV ads of 2012 in a free webinar (detailed below).

Free Webinar Presentation: Phoenix Marketing International’s Automotive Practice discusses its findings in detail April 4th at 2pm est. For information or to register please click here.

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.

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Brian Maraone
Phoenix Marketing International
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