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Cadillac vs. The World

The scarcity of these columns the past several months was caused by a lengthy health hiatus not a lack of news, opinion or comments about automotive marketing, advertising and promotion. Far, far from it.

Confined for weeks to a hospital bed most of my non-sleep hours were spent watching TV, hours of mind-numbing reality programs, news from both sides, Wimbledon tennis coverage, the London Olympics and cooking shows.

Interspersed were a few good commercials and some not-so-good car commercials one could imagine especially those terrible summer sale commercials.

The Car Ads of Summer – another bummer

Based on ranking research I just received from Ace Metrix for the top ten auto commercials which aired from July 15 to Aug. 15 based on their auto industry norm score of 545. The top 10 spots were:

 With their mega-media budgets it was hard to miss the Caddy, Bimmer or Chevy spots but critics’ opinions are often divergent from the general public; ranking, however, has nothing to do with likeability, creative concept, brand impact or motivation to research. There’s no need to have links to these commercials since they are now old news but I feel compelled to express my opinion on six of the commercials which made my filings ache:

  • Cadillac ATS – these wannabe 3 Series ads were beautifully and expensively produced, but to me failed to communicate any essence of cache and implied status to the demographic that can afford the new Cadillac model. My ranking: A no martini lunch.
  • Chevrolet – the love it or return it commercials were a rip-off of Hyundai program which generated a lot of buzz but didn’t help sell that many cars for the Korean brand and didn’t do much for Chevy either. Creative concept and production lacking too. My ranking: A no martini lunch.
  • Chevrolet – “part of life” was a trip down nostalgia lane, a late valentine trying to restore a lost love and build a new one on unrequited feelings. Look at the top demo. My ranking: A one martini lunch.

The Fall Forecast – who will win the new mid-size sedan advertising battle?

My email has been deluged with releases about the many new advertising campaigns just or about to be introduced for the new mid sedans. This fall in primetime and sports programming commercials for these new models will be ubiquitous, until a couple weeks before the presidential election, but will regain impact after Americans decide who will be our next leader. Some random thoughts based on limited information:

  • Ford Fusion – Jim Farley has put mega media budgets behind the new looks-like-an-Aston Martin Fusion campaign in traditional and social media.
  • Nissan Altima – pre-launch ads were sensational with CGI scrims being removed as a tease. Look for new commercials with more product innovation benefits.
  • Honda Acura – new design brings forth new ads and new creative platforms from the rejuvenated RPA agency. Watch for a new Super Bowl ad.
  • Kia Optima – with the NBA back in full stride, Kia will probably launch some new commercials – but don’t expect more dancing rodents. Watch for a new Super Bowl ads.
  • Toyota Camry – has tried to lose its dowdy, boring and non-compelling ads with new creative and best of all has a new theme line.
  • Hyundai Sonata – good example of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” campaign. Watch for a new Super Bowl ads.
  • Audi – new S series already on the air. Watch for a new Super Bowl ad.
  • VW – has a new campaign based on nostalgia. Watch for a new Super Bowl ad.
  • GM/Chevy – no idea what the fall will bring. No Super Bowl ads.

As new commercials become available they will be reviewed in future columns. Thanks to the many who wished me good health and quick recovery during my health crisis.

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