Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported one of the finalists for the Best Green Ad spot. Volkswagen was the correct finalist.
NEW YORK -- Kia Motors America's TV commercial for the launch of the Soul was named Automotive Ad of the Year for effectiveness by Nielsen Co.'s IAG Automotive arm at the opening of the New York auto show here this morning.
The commercial, from David&Goliath in Los Angeles, showed hamsters driving the car and was billed as “A New Way To Roll.”
One of Ford Motor Co.'s 15-second commercials for the Ford Fusion hybrid was named Best Green Ad. The spot, by TeamDetroit in suburban Detroit, featured an owner talking about the car's fuel efficiency.
The honor for Best Sales Ad went to the Toyota Division of Toyota Motor Sales USA for its late-year “Toyotathon.” Toyota's ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, had showroom customers scrambling to grab their Toyota in moves resembling musical chairs.
Nielsen's Automotive arm considered all 2009 national vehicle TV spots to determine the three winners for most effective in 2009. The ads had to be memorable, be likeable, and viewers had to recall the message, brand and model, said IAG Automotive President Lois Miller.
“In 2009 it was really hard (for auto companies) to break through because of all the negative press about car companies and the economy caused a tremendous drop in ad spending,” she said.
Tim Chaney, Kia's marketing director, said the key elements necessary for effective TV ads are understanding the target and the best way to communicate with them, along with the proper media placement and the size of a advertising purchase.
“It goes without saying that a high production value is critical so the brand's image is properly conveyed, but this also needs to be coupled with memorable imagery, music and messaging that breaks through the ad clutter,” Chaney said.
Kia was among three finalists in the ad-of-the-year category, competing against General Motors' Cadillac (for the CTS spot with Kate Walsh) and Chevrolet (a Silverado ad with Howie Long). The other contenders for the Best Green Ad were Toyota, for its commercial touting its fuel-efficient lineup, and Volkwsagen, for its "Meet the Volkswagens" campaign.