LOS ANGELES -- Advertising budgets are down across the board, and newspapers are largely off the radar of automakers, a panel of top auto marketing executives said at the Automotive News Marketing Seminar here.
The panelists said their budgets are lower and are more focused on TV and the Internet.
John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, said that budgets are down across all media. He said all forms of advertising are having less impact in the current economic climate.
Scion vice president Jack Hollis said the Toyota youth brands ad spending is reduced and is focused more on grass-roots marketing and the Internet.
With ad budgets down the importance of accountability is up, the panelists said. The ability to measure the impact of campaigns is crucial. That has led to more online advertising, they said.
We still do some national cable, but our XC60 launch has been 60 percent Internet, said John Maloney, vice president of marketing and product planning for Volvo Cars North America. The tools are changing.
Joel Ewanick, head of marketing for Hyundai Motor America, agrees.
Its not that newspapers are dead, its just how people are interacting with them," he said. "More people are going to the online versions of the newspapers."
A dealer cannot afford a $20,000 newspaper ad anymore, Ewanick said. But if he goes online with the same ad, he can gain instant feedback.
Newspapers still have a purpose, however. In Middle America, regional newspapers are an effective way to get the message out, said Judy Wheeler, director of advertising for Chrysler LLC. The automaker used 50 local newspapers, in addition to USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, for the relaunch of Chrysler following its bankruptcy filing.
Multi-franchise dealer Mike Sullivan of Santa Monica, Calif., said he is using radio, outdoor and some cable, but is shifting more to online.
About 800 people attended the annual event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.