Like many of you, the CarWoo! team enjoys the Super Bowl ads just as much as (or maybe more than) the Big Game itself. Especially when some of our favorite celebrities make cameos during the ads. But how much do these commercials affect product sales?
With auto manufacturers spending 3.5 million a pop for the airspace alone, and potentially another few million on celebrities, one would expect they are hoping for a significant return on their investment. With this question in mind, we crunched the number for our latest infographic. We wanted to see which ads showed early promise of affecting sales and which ads reached the brand awareness endzone and which ads fell short of a goal.
It’s especially interesting that the ads with some of the most recognizable faces (Jerry Seinfeld? Matthew Broderick, anyone?) didn’t have the same kinds of immediate effects as ads that went other routes. The most successful ad, the Chevy Sonic spot, appealed to a younger crowd – the song in the action packed ad repeats “we are young” in the chorus and references a video by OK Go, a popular “Gen Y” band. The Kia ad was pretty action-filled as well.
Why is it that celebrity faces didn’t always result in huge immediate sales? For the Acura ad, the NSX isn’t even out yet, so clearly no one would have been looking on CarWoo! for that ride. But the “halo effect,” which occurs when the entire brand lineup sees an increase due to a single model’s mention, didn’t happen for Acura either. Nor did it happen for Honda.
Yet Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler spot, and Motley Crue and Adriana Lima spot for Kia did have an effect, and it probably had a lot less to do with the celebs than the writers who created the spots. We all liked to chuckle at Seinfeld’s efforts to secure the 1st NSX, but his and Broderick’s CR-V ad were much more about the funny entertainers than they were about the cars or the brands themselves.Chrysler and Kia, on the other hand, used the celebrities to enhance their brand’s message. Eastwood’s monologue was touching (and especially so because it was delivered by friggin’ Clint Eastwood!!), but it was the content of his speech, the feeling of togetherness and hard work and “hey we’re America” that Chrysler wanted viewers to take home.
In the end, the most successful commercials delivered a feeling about the brand, whether or not they were delivered by a famous face.
How We Crunched the Data:
In the “Scored a Touchdown” and ”Completely Fumbled” sections, indices for three time periods (1/5/12 through 1/12/12, 1/6/12 through 2/4/12, 1/28/12 through 2/4/12) were created based on overall lift for vehicles configured daily on CarWoo! from the following makes that didn’t advertise during the Super Bowl (Buick, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Infiniti, Jeep, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Scion, Smart, Subaru, Volvo). Makes that advertised nationally were compared against the daily vehicle configurations for the time period 2/5/12 through 2/12/12, for each time period against the index. The figures in the infographic represent an average of the make’s performance against all three indices. Suzuki and BMW were excluded, because they ran regional ads only.
In the “Chevrolet ads” section, the same methodology as above was used, but using the following non-advertised Chevrolet models (Avalanche, Aveo, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Impala, Malibu, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse), as the index compared to models advertised.
In the “Ford Trucks” section, we compared the trucks with all other Ford models as indices. Ford F-Series includes F-150, Super Duty F-250 SRW, Super Duty F-350 SRW. The figures in the infographic represent an average of the following: percentage lift of daily vehicles configured between the “before” periods of 1/5/12 through 1/12/12, 1/6/12 through 2/4/12, 1/28/12 through 2/4/12 and the “after” period of 2/5/12 through 2/12/12.]**