3. In the year's most spectacular product placement, GM cast Pontiac, Chevrolet, GMC and Hummer in the big-budget summer action flick Transformers. The cars and trucks morphed into superrobots.
4. GM plays musical chairs with its longtime ad agencies: Leo Burnett Worldwide picks up Buick account from McCann-Erickson and GMC account from Lowe Worldwide. Burnett loses Cadillac account to Modernista. Lowe loses Saab account to McCann-Erickson. Deutsch LA gets Saturn account.
5. Automakers put more clout and dollars behind digital and event marketing aimed at individual consumers. Car companies' ad spending in mass media — network TV, newspapers and magazines — continues to drop.
6. As gasoline prices and environmental awareness rise, automakers — notably GM, Ford, Nissan and Honda — offer more "green" advertising that stresses fuel economy.
7. Joel Ewanick takes over as Hyundai's top U.S. marketer. He promptly fires the automaker's ad agency, the Richards Group — his former employer.
8. The year's major marketing launches include the redesigned Toyota Tundra full-sized pickup, redesigned Chevrolet Malibu mid-sized sedan, redesigned Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans and the 2008 Cadillac CTS. Ford introduces the Sync onboard communication and entertainment system with a comprehensive ad campaign typically reserved for vehicles.
9. New advertisers join the Super Bowl marketing frenzy: Hyundai and Cars.com, an online vehicle shopping site, will advertise for the first time when the game is telecast Feb. 3.