It used to be one of the biggest advertising opportunities each year for the auto industry, but several major automakers skip Super Bowl ads altogether. What does this mean at the dealership level, and what does it say about automotive advertising and marketing as a whole?
We have few thoughts on the subject.
More people tune in to watch the Super Bowl than ever before, and the live nature of the nation’s most popular single sporting event makes for one of the few major media slots where a captive audience is actually willing to sit through commercials—they can’t fast forward through them, and they don’t want to leave the room for fear of missing a second of the action.
It makes sense, then, that advertising time during the Super Bowl is as expensive as it comes, and there are plenty of companies in a variety of consumer-facing (and some non-consumer-facing) industries that are willing to shell out the high asking price for a chance to pitch their goods to millions of attentive eyes. Many car manufacturers made Super Bowl ads a front-and-center part of their annual marketing strategy, but this year some major players were notably missing.
First, there’s Nissan. After a long hiatus from Super Bowl ads, the company famously (or infamously) returned last year with their father-son bonding commercial. The sweet sentiment of the family pair connecting over their Nissan sedan was meant to be touching and spark an emotional attachment amongst viewers, but the ad met with mixed reaction from the online crowd and didn’t do much to boost Nissan’s bottom line.
This year they focused on college football, reaching smaller audiences more frequently with a comprehensive sponsorship deal that puts them in the middle of the games that their potential customers care about the most.
Then there’s Ford, also taking a back seat during what was once a major marketing bonanza for the All-American auto brand. They, too, seem to be betting on more frequent advertising amidst less spectacle, sensing that a blanket approach to a wide swath of consumers isn’t going to work as well as more targeted advertising and marketing efforts.
Super Bowl ads don’t tend to immediately affect sales at the dealership level, but dealerships should still take note. The brand and marketing strategists at Nissan and Ford crunched a lot of numbers and poured over plenty of data to reach their conclusions, and yours should probably be the same: offering more targeted marketing materials to buyers rather than trying to impress all of them with one gigantic statement is likely to have a much bigger payoff.
Make sure your own advertising and marketing efforts—from your TV commercials to website’s media—takes the same approach, speaking to specific consumers about the right cars to fit their specific needs. You’ll see more sales with a lower spend, and that’s great for your business.