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Barbarians at the gate? The media hordes prepare for their annual assault on Detroit's Cobo Hall.

For years Cobo Hall, the venue for the North American International Automobile Show has been suspect. No matter how good the vehicles may be displayed with special lighting, the roof did leak, the rest rooms were awful, it was either too hot or too cold and exhibitors and media attendees alike were certain to come up with a vociferous array of complaints.

Result? A three-year, three-phase $270 million renovation and expansion is nearly complete, just in time for the show’s media preview days. There’s a new atrium overlooking the Windsor, Canada skyline and the Detroit River. The Wayne exhibit hall has had 25,000 square feet added and parking has been expanded by 500 spaces.

Also good news is the relocation of the Michelin Media Center from the inconvenient third floor of  Cobo to Michigan Hall at river level. It’s located between the new three-story atrium, and the indoor Aisin Drive Green Experience test track. There will be more work spaces — 700 of ‘em –, hard line web connectivity, broadcast and photo centers and of course, a steady flow of coffee, refreshments and snacks.

And to keep up with everything that’s news from the show there’s now an Official NAIAS 2013 Mobile App. As the release noted, it is the newest means of connectivity for “everything auto show.” The NAIAS App is presented by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) and WDIV-TV Local 4 web site, ClickOnDetroit.com. It is available for free download in both the iPhone and Android platforms. Supposed to provide all the information, maps, times, etc. needed for easy show navigation and scheduling.

Will Chevy's new tagline run deep?

Didn’t Know Tag Lines Deserved Such PR … Did you?  

Talk about way too much hype. Both Chevrolet and Toyota have releases and examples extolling their new taglines on advertising. These cute, innocuous and superfluous little phrases that are used under or near print logos and appear both as supers and audio on commercials to fulfill the copywriters dream of immortality — and screw up an art director’s good layout.

“Find New Roads” is Chevy’s new tagline. (Drum roll please)  Now that is a helluva lot better than the brand “running deep,” but not by much. At least it is something positive albeit confusing. Is the consumer lost? Or is the brand lost? Much in need of an advertising GPS.

Then again, considering Chevy’s lackluster performance in an otherwise resilient U.S. automotive market, last year, perhaps it should adopt an alternate tagline: “Find New Customers.”  That’s clearly the message from top management, starting with CEO Dan Akerson.

(Click Here for more on Akerson’s sales and market share goals for 2013.)

Toyota’s new tagline is “Let’s go places” which replaces … hmm, remind me, what does it replace? To launch the new tag Toyota is running a video that is certain to implant the line in the minds of countless people who dwell on taglines as if they were real advertising.  Click here: http://www.toyota.com/letsgoplaces/lets-go-places/

Coming Soon the Auto Advertising Scrum — Super Bowl XLVII

For the first forty or so years advertisers on Super Bowl broadcasts were obsessively quiet and secretive about their commercials. And that was when they were modestly priced.  Not now. Advertisers are teasing bits and pieces, running contests, building social media fantasy dreams, do everything they can to create interest in their costly spots.

With prices ranging up to almost $4 million for a :30-second spot only huge YouTube hits can equate to acceptable. even modest, return on investment.  And the ultimate goal is to gain the number one ranking from a commercial ranking source, be it pure research, so-called expert panel or other measurement.  Rumor has it at least two auto advertisers may show a sneak peak at their new commercials.  What hath advertising wrought?

Oh, and on the subject of the Super Bowl check out TheDetroitBureau.com’s report on how GM – which officially called it quits on the event last year – is planning to sneak back in by presenting its new Chevrolet Corvette “C7” to halftime superstar Beyonce.  (Click Here for more.)

New Ads and Campaigns Previewed Pre-Show

Television programming – both cable and networks – has been filled with new commercials pre-Detroit-Show. That can’t be a coincidence can it? But these major investments in creative, production and airtime are seldom ever revealed to the assembled media corps during new vehicle presentations. As a matter of fact getting any comments about marketing and advertising during scrums is almost as rare as a good commercial.

Spectacular New Exhibits   

The cars are the stars, but how and in what atmosphere or architectural setting they are displayed and the lighting has become increasingly important for both pre-show media types and the consumer. Nissan, Toyota and Lexus have all announced new venues for their vehicles.

Nissan’s appears to be one of the more intriguing, if quirky, the maker saying it is injecting a special scent in its space at Detroit’s Cobo Hall to appeal to potential buyers.  Will that also make the media hordes write kinder stories?

Ace Metrix Top Auto Brands & Advertisers in 2012   

Ace Metrix®, the television and video analytics authority, announced the top TV brand advertisers and ads of 2012.  In the auto category three brands, Cadillac and Infiniti tied for first in the luxury category while Ford received top honors for the non-luxury category.  The winning commercials can be seen by clicking below:

Category Brand

2012 Average
Ace Score

Automotive Luxury Cadillac

580

Automotive Luxury Infiniti

580

Automotive Non-Luxury Ford

566

Brand of the Year honors went to 16 advertisers, in 15 categories, which earned the highest average Ace Score for their body of work in 2012. In addition, Ace Metrix revealed the Top 20 most effective individual Ads of the Year, a list representing the highest scoring ads across 28 industries and nearly 6,000 ads scored in 2012. View the winners by clicking the above link.

“2012 was a year marked by creative strategies that stressed innovation while embracing cause and humor,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix.  “The number of brands airing voluminous amounts of quality creative and still beating the competition is noteworthy.  To deliver five great ads in a year and beat out your category competitors is quite an achievement, but to develop 20 or upwards of 50 ads in a year and remain the most effective brand of a category is a truly stellar accomplishment.  Brands like Best Buy, Cadillac, Ford, Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Samsung and Visa did just that.”

Safe travels. Nice weather. See you in Cobo.

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