Press Release

December 14th, 2011

Holiday Ads From Auto Makers Fail To Impress Consumers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—December 14, 2011–In spite of the introduction of more than 150 new ads plugging new models and holiday promotions, automotive advertisers have experienced a lukewarm reception from U.S. consumers in Q4, according to Ace Metrix, the authority in television advertising effectiveness. The company, which today revealed lists of the most effective luxury and non-luxury automotive ads  to break so far this quarter, found Q4 ads from Chevrolet to be a notable exception, leading the non-luxury automotive category in effectiveness—a category that performed far better than its luxury counterpart. This trend is a departure from last year when luxury brands out-performed non-luxury brands in effectiveness.

“Consumers tend to dislike sales event promotional ads, yet this year, many brands opted for this type of messaging instead of better-performing, more creative brand/product messaging,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “The result is the disappointing performance of many of the nearly 35 holiday-themed automotive ads to break so far this season. Case in point: it’s astounding that four of the ‘Top 10’ luxury automotive ads were below norm– a clear signal that many automotive brands have stepped away from good creative this season and fallen back on ‘Buy it now, you idiot’ messaging wrapped up in sales events and bows.”

Verbatim quotes from consumers who were surveyed included: “It’s the Christmas car bow ad…I think advertisers should know we’re tired of these and they should do something else…” “How many times are car companies going to show a car as a Christmas gift?…It makes me NOT want to buy [from them].”

Lexus, a brand typically in the Top 10 creative rankings, was conspicuously absent this quarter.  Last year, the brand had more brand/product ads and had an average Ace Score of 584. This year, Lexus geared its creative toward holiday-themed sales event ads (“December to Remember”), resulting in a 14 percent drop in their average Ace Score to 504 – well below norm for the luxury automotive category.

One consumer said of the Lexus ads, “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!”

On a positive note, luxury brands like Cadillac, Audi and Mercedes-Benz got their holiday messages right with Ace Scores above the norm.  In addition, ads longer than the standard 30 seconds dominated both lists.

“One trend we are seeing a lot of is what we’re calling ‘the return of story-telling’—longer spots that allow a brand to tell a story,” Daboll commented. “Chevy’s top-ranking ads are a great example of this, as is the top-ranking Thomas Keller BMW ad.”

Most Effective TV Ads for Non-Luxury Automotive, Q4 to Date*

Brand Ad Title Air Date Overall Ace Score (+/-) Norm
Chevrolet For The First Hundred Years 10/19/2011 633 +
Chevrolet Man Gets Old Car Back 11/6/2011 632 +
Hyundai Easy on the Eyes As on the Environment 12/2/2011 629 +
Chevrolet Fast Food Workers Argue Over Car 10/19/2011 616 +
Mitsubishi Welcome to the New Normal 10/10/2011 597 +
Volkswagen Peace of Mind of Owning Top Safety Pick 10/1/2011 593 +
Ford Mike Rowe: Big Tire Sale 10/3/2011 592 +
Ford Mike Row at the Mall 11/5/2011 586 +
Honda To Each Their Own 10/24/2011 583 +
Toyota It’s Ready: Are You? 10/14/2011 582 +
Toyota Newest Member – Prius 10/31/2011 582 +

Most Effective Luxury Automotive TV Ads, Q4 to Date*

Brand Ad Title Air Date Overall Ace Score (+/-) Norm
BMW Commitment to Excellence- Thomas Keller 10/4/2011 601 +
Cadillac Season’s Best Event: Reindeers – Holiday 11/12/2011 583 +
Audi New Tradition- Holiday 11/14/2011 573 +
Mercedes-Benz Santa’s Choice- Holiday 11/9/2011 565 +
Infiniti Snowball- Winter 11/14/2011 563 +
Cadillac Season’s Best Event: Gift on Hood- Holiday 11/12/2011 557 +
Infiniti A Snow Ball Clears a Parking Space- Winter 11/6/2011 551 norm
Lincoln Luxury Auto Fuel Efficient Luxury Car: Paul Hochman 10/13/2011 541 _
Jaguar It Makes Luxury More Exciting 10/7/2011 541 _
Infiniti Avalanche- Winter 11/14/2011 541 _

*Definition:  Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience.  The results are presented on a scale of 0-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as relevance, persuasion, watchability, information, attention, etc.

Ace Metrix will reveal the Top 10 Ads of the Quarter and Top Ads for the Year on January 4th, 2012.

About Ace Metrix
Ace Metrix is the industry authority in measuring and understanding the impact of advertising creative. Through patent-pending Ace Score™ measurement technology, Ace Metrix collects and measures the consumer impact of every nationally breaking TV ad in near real-time. Through its Creative Lifecycle Management™ suite of products, Ace Metrix provides actionable creative analysis, from ideation through real-time in-market performance optimization, to many of the world’s leading advertisers and agencies.   Ace Metrix works with leading global advertisers.

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Note: Ace Metrix, Ace Metrix Live, Ace Metrix Mobile, Creative Lifecycle Management, and Ace Score are trademarks of Ace Metrix. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


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