Could there be a correlation between sales and marketing campaigns? It may be just a coincidence, but there were some clear relationships between winning campaigns and strong sales in the United States last year.
Some big surprising sales winners were Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. Mercedes emerged as the top luxury make in the United States last year, the first time that either Cadillac or Lincoln hasn't taken that honor. And among the mass producers, Volkswagen had the biggest sales increase - 43.6 percent - selling more cars than Oldsmobile and the Chrysler brand and right on the heels of Nissan and Mercury.
Earlier this month, VW and Mercedes left with armloads of trophies from the International Automotive Advertising Awards ceremony held during press week of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Of the 10 gold trophies awarded, seven went to Mercedes, two to VW and one to Toyota.
In the all-important TV category, Volkswagen of America and its ad agency, Arnold Communications, took all but three of the gold and silver trophies awarded in the small-car class.
Gold trophies for Mercedes and its former agency, Lowe & Partners, included best luxury TV spot; best TV commercials promoting a full-line brand and 'Best of Show' award for the TV spot 'Artists,' produced by Andy Hirsch, Randy Saitta and Marty Orzio.
VW, Toyota and Mercedes also won gold trophies for free-standing Web sites.
TV commercials have always gotten the biggest splash during ad award competitions. They're the most visual and, if good, the most fun to watch. But gaining in importance are Web sites and Web promotion events.
With the world becoming so technetronic, many marketers believe the Web will be the place both to inform and entertain consumers. So it may not be too far in the future when Web site promotions win the 'Best of Show' for an auto marketing campaign.
That's because TV is dwindling in importance as a source of vehicle information. A recent study by AutoPacific of 40,000 consumers showed that personal experience and test drives were the most important sources. When it came to the media, the Internet was more important than either TV, radio or consumer magazines.
It's not hard to figure out why. After all, TV commercials are just 30- or 60-second events that flash by in a blink of an eye. Who knows if people even watch them? And you certainly can't engage in a conversation with them or put them on your coffee table or in your briefcase for further perusal. Some commercials move very quickly, and because many vehicles look alike, it's hard to tell sometimes what product is being promoted.
That's why Web site promotions may be best positioned to catch the customer's attention, particularly if some sort of game or contest is featured with the campaign. Chevy and Toyota caught the attention of millions of consumers on the Web when they promoted contests during the launches of the Chevy Tracker and Toyota Tundra trucks. People may not buy those vehicles, but at least Chevy and Toyota know that the products were seen. And they have millions of names with which they can do follow-up promotions. Good Web site promotions almost force consumers to spend time with the product and learn something about the brand name.
Automotive Marketer is curious about the Web and the many Web promotions that auto marketers are pursuing. In the April issue, we will feature what we believe to be the five best Internet campaigns. So if you know of a good Internet campaign and would like to nominate one for the April contest, please contact us. It can be a free-standing Web site, a Web promotion event or a Web site banner.
P.S.: Isn't the world getting spacey?
Kathy Jackson can be reached by phone at (313) 446-0371; by e-mail at [email protected]; or by mail at 1400 Woodbridge, Detroit MI 48207.