Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Auto industry ads suck, and this auto exec knows it!

There are a few bright spots in the auto advertising business (see Porsche), but for the most part, auto ads suck (see BMW). I have often written/spoken critically about advertising in this industry and to my delight, someone inside the industry is speaking my language.

I am referring to Scott Keogh (Audi CMO), who recognized the fact that most auto industry ads are bland, programmatic and ineffective. Audi broke out of the mold this year in a risky, but crucial attempt to be different, to be memorable, and to be successful.

In this video (it's 8 minutes, so I'll summarize) he gives 3 examples of some truly creative creative that helped Audi stand out in the sea of blandness:

  1. A powerful campaign (with impactful imagery) that espoused the virtues of clean diesel and defiled traditional fuels and the oil-producing Middle East.
  2. A decision to "buy-out" all the TV spots on the three major US networks during Obama's inauguration... but to also agree to simply sponsor the newscasts and run them commercial-free!
  3. A documentary, produced by NFL Films, about the Audi racing experience at Le Mans which they pitched (successfully) to ESPN... before they knew how they would finish in the race!

These are three risky, even radical, approaches to advertising in an otherwise tedious market. In advertising, taking a risk is hard, but it's the best way to create impact.

Turns out that Audi's market share is up, and their profits are growing (that's right, I said profits)! Coincidence?

Another topic I write/speak about often is the importance of creativity (see Apple), and this is a shining example.

Well done Scott and your Audi Marketing team.

Your turn: What are your thoughts about auto ads?


Steve said...

I think the sheer volume of ads leads to a lot of crap. Most ads I see are full of vague, meaningless cliches and running footage.

If I look back at 2009, Hyundai stands out, because they focused on a brilliant and simple idea, Hyundai Assurance. Well, it was simple from the consumer's perspective, although probably not for Hyundai's accounting department or dealers. Still, it was perfectly timed and exactly what a consumer would tell you they need.

I thought Toyota did a nice job with the spot for the new Prius, but I didn't see it followed up with any other communications.

Glenn Cressman said...

Great minds think alike! I was impressed by Hyundai's move as well: