The coronavirus pandemic has stimulated an avid interest in shopping alternatives, spurring automotive consumers toward an online experience. Despite the pivot, digital auto advertising is projected to take a 48.8% hit in market spending from March to December, compared to last year, according to a June Marketing Charts survey.
Yet, that projection has not stopped auto manufacturers and their captives from injecting millions into television and online ads to boost consumer interest. Featured here are the ad campaigns and spends by top auto industry players, which highlight financing initiatives since the pandemic crisis began in March, according to iSpot.tv, a media measurement company.
“Firsts” – $20.7 million
Carvana dropped one of the biggest investments in the auto industry this year for its ongoing “Firsts” ad, which premiered Jan. 1. The online used-vehicle retailer spent $20.7 million, raking in 2.6 billion television impressions out of 16,075 airings nationwide.
The ad features the auto retailer’s most recent innovation, personalized financing through Carvana’s app, and notes that Carvana was at the forefront of offering car sales entirely online or through a vending machine. Despite rapid success with its ad campaign, Carvana tightened its underwriting in May and slowed its consumer vehicle purchase program.
“Today. Tomorrow. Toyota: Promise’ – $11.9 million
Toyota Motor Corp. spent nearly $12 million on its “Today. Tomorrow. Toyota: Promise” ad, accumulating around 768.2 million television impressions in its 2,604 airings. During this time, Toyota was in the process of shutting down European production and laying off 5,000 temporary staff members.
In the ad, the Japanese auto manufacturer highlighted initiatives it was taking in June to accommodate its customers: 0% financing for 60 months, no-contact vehicle drop-off and open service shops. The ad premiered in early May and wrapped up June 26.
“Getting Back to It” – $7.5 million
Ford Motor Co. is making waves with the recent release of the new Bronco model. The OEM, meanwhile, spent $7.5 million on its active ad: “Getting Back to It,” which premiered July 2; so far it has aired 997 times and gained 811.3 million television impressions.
The ad promotes financing at 0% for 72 months as well as Ford Promise, a new program that allows buyers to return their vehicles to the manufacturer in the next year if they lose their job as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Rediscover the Road” – $6.6 million
Mazda Motor Corp. also released its “Rediscover the Road” ad campaign July 2. The Japanese brand spent approximately $6.6 million on the ad, with 492.5 million television impressions in its 1,970 airings. It was most recently run on National Geographic’s “United Sharks of America” program.
Mazda, the only auto manufacturer to witness positive year-over-year sales since March, promotes 0% APR for 60 days, with no payments for the first 90 days in the ad. In April, the carmaker announced the foundation of its captive, Mazda Financial Services.
“Chevy Cares” – $4.1 million
Chevrolet has been focused on its give-back initiative to support Chevrolet and captive GM Financial customers in getting back on their feet since it started its “Chevy Cares” campaign with the “Doing Our Part” ad that premiered March 18 at a cost of $4.1 million. Of 1,668 airings, this ad has surpassed those of other auto manufacturers, pulling in over 1 billion television impressions.
The “Doing our Part” ad aired in North America and Mexico, highlighting complimentary services Chevy was offering to its customers including deferral programs through GM Financial, OnStar and WiFi packages.