By Barry Janoff
February 1, 2017: When it comes to driving marketing during the Super Bowl, the auto category is among the leaders of putting ad spend pedal to the metal.
Car companies that will be part of Super Bowl LI include Audi, Buick, Ford, Honda, Kia, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. When the category total spend is recorded, it will reflect the record $5 million for a 30-second spot that Fox has been asking.
In 2016, sponsors paid nearly $370 million for in-game messages, which were going for upward of $4.8 million on CBS. When pre- and post-game programming is added in, the total hit $445 million for the one-day event, according to research and consulting firm Kantar Media, NY.
The car category was tops in spend during Super Bowl 50, with nine companies spending a total of $86.4 million, The previous year, nine companies spent a category-leading $96.8 million. The auto category record spend was $113.4 million during Super Bowl XLVIII (11 companies).
Car companies that ran ads during Super Bowl 50 included Acura (with music from Van Halen), Audi (featuring David Bowie’s "Starman"), Buick, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai (with Kevin Hart), Kia, Mini and Toyota. Jeep also has air time during the game.
Five automotive brands that had a social media component tied to their Super Bowl 50 campaigns "not only gained more social media followers, but these people also were more influential and socially active than the average social media user," according to a new study from global information services company Experian, NY.
According to Experian, the percentage of high-influencer followers (consumers with more than 1,000 followers) for these brands increased 14.8% during the month after the Big Game, while the number of consumers talking about these auto brands increased by 17.2%.
In addition, the average number of posts for each follower increased by 35.4% during the same time period.
Although the car companies themselves were not identified, the report indicates that a the category as a whole has benefited from multi-media Super Bowl campaigns that included a heavy dose of social media.
"Because this is one of the most sought-after advertising slots, brands need to make sure they take full advantage of the connection they can make with audiences during the Super Bowl," Brienna Pinnow, Experian's director of product marketing for targeting, said in a statement. "That means developing a creative strategy that works across channels and encourages people to engage with the brand.
"If a brand is going to invest in high-dollar ad space like the Super Bowl, they need to take a multichannel approach. This means extending the TV ad's story into a social media conversation," said Pinnow.
Automakers are going for high social media impressions this year based on early returns, some by featuring celebrities.
Among them. Kia Niro’s spot, "Hero’s Journey," stars Melissa McCarthy (pictured at top); Mercedes-Benz’ "Easy Driver" (pictyured below) was directed by the Coen Bros. and stars Peter Fonda (with music by Steppenwolf); and Buick’s spot, "Not So Pee-Wee Football," features Cam Newton and Miranda Kerr (above).
According to Experian’s findings regarding car companies that had Super Bowl 50 ads, men were approximately 30% more likely to engage with these brands than the general population, nearly 60% of users who engaged fell between the ages of 26-50 and more than 37% of the audience had an average income between $50,000 and $99,999.
Experian said its analysis showed consumers who engaged with these brands were 1.72 times more likely to fall within the life stage to which Experian refers as "Couples with Clout."
"People in this segment often are middle-aged couples with teenage children, have an active and energetic lifestyle and live in more affluent neighborhoods."
Of importance to car companies, "Couples with Clout find joy in consumption. Most are in the market for a vehicle, new or used, and they like to buy CUVs and imported sedans with the latest high-tech options," per Experian.
"The primary goal of each marketing campaign is to deliver a message that resonates with the audience on a personal level and encourages them to take action," said Pinnow.
"Marketers who accomplish this can create a better experience for their customers, which hopefully can evolve into a loyal brand relationship."
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