Automakers increased their ad spending in U.S. media by 3.8 percent in the first half over the same period in 2004. But that modest overall increase masked wide variations among car companies.
General Motors, the industry's largest advertiser, boosted its first-half ad spending by 22.7 percent, to $1.44 billion, according to TNS Media Intelligence. GM's Buick and Pontiac brands showed especially big increases.
Buick's ad spending rose by 79.6 percent in the first half because the brand was launching the mid-sized LaCrosse sedan and its "Dream Up" advertising campaign. This month, Buick replaced the "Dream Up" tag line with "Beyond Precision."
Pontiac's first-half spending increased by 67.0 percent. Pontiac put marketing muscle behind the new G6 and launched the Solstice roadster in the spring.
Among other GM brands, GMC spent 44.9 percent more to advertise in the first six months. Hummer ad spending rose by 33.8 percent.
GMC Marketing Director Steve Rosenblum linked the advertising push to launches of several models.
"We launched the Denali version of the Envoy at the beginning of the year," he says. "We focused a lot of our attention on advertising the Denali lineup, including the Sierra and the Yukon. Then we moved into the launch of Envoy."
Ford up, DCX down
Ford Motor Co. spent $757.5 million to advertise in the first half - a 13.9 percent increase over the year-ago period. Ford Division, which launched the convertible version of its redesigned Mustang, boosted its ad spending by 26.8 percent.
Ad spending by DaimlerChrysler AG dropped 13.3 percent, to $745.5 million. Among Chrysler group brands, Jeep was up by 22.0 percent, while Dodge was down by 24.5 percent and Chrysler Division was down by 12.7 percent.
Ad spending by import-brand automakers also diverged widely.
Spending by Volkswagen AG's Audi brand rose by 76.4 percent and BMW's Mini brand rose 71.8 percent. Meanwhile, first-half spending by Volkswagen Division fell by 10.2 percent.
Toyota Division's ad spending rose by 9.2 percent, to $416.3 million. Honda Division spending was up 16.7 percent, to $260.3 million.
But two smaller-volume Japanese brands, Mazda and Mitsubishi, slashed their ad spending. Mazda spending fell by 40.3 percent while Mitsubishi was down 44.9 percent.
More for networks
Despite complaints about price increases and shrinking audiences, network TV remained the most popular advertising medium. Automakers spent $1.52 billion to advertise on broadcast networks in the first half - a 5.1 percent increase from the year-ago period.
Ad spending on spot TV during local programming fell 14.3 percent, to $1.06 billion. But spending on cable TV jumped 23.1 percent, to $632.1 million.
In the major print categories, car companies spent $942.4 million to advertise in magazines - a 2.6 percent increase. Advertising in local newspapers rose 18.8 percent, to $490.2 million. c