Challenging. That may be the most appropriate word to describe the atmosphere for many industries in 2022, and automotive was certainly no exception. But amidst the trials came something unexpected – automakers didn’t slash their marketing dollars nearly as much as you might have predicted. But why? It’s simple. And it’s the same reasons marketing budgets will increase in 2023 – EVs and branding.
The future of the automotive industry is electric, and auto brands need to tell people about it. In fact, with the shape of the 2022 economy, automakers strategically reallocated their marketing investments from selling cars to branding electric vehicles. Last year was “very much a seller’s market,” said Vincent Létang, executive vice president and managing director of global market research at the media investment firm Magna. “Against that backdrop, you would have expected advertising spending to fall a lot more than it did.” The final numbers aren’t in, but comparing the first three quarters of 2022 against the first three quarters of 2021, overall automotive ad spending on national TV dropped close to 12%, according to Nielsen. The word “only” could be inserted into that sentence thanks to the uptick in electric vehicle advertising. iSpot.tv Inc., a television ad measurement firm, reported that automakers boosted spending on commercials for electric vehicles by nearly 14% last year, accounting for a full 24% of their total TV spending.
Forecast for 2023
Using the strategies employed by both Hyundai and Kia as barometers for ad spending in 2023, count on the EV branding trend from 2022 to continue. “You don’t put a vehicle in the Super Bowl to sell 20,000 vehicles—that doesn’t make any sense,” said Russell Wager, Kia America’s vice president of marketing. “You do it when you’re trying to tell people that we’re a legitimate EV brand, and we want people to put us on the consideration list, not only for EV6, but for our upcoming EV9.” Last year, Kia used Super Bowl LVI as the broadcast launch of the EV6. This year, the higher-end EV6 GT will get the spotlight in Super Bowl LVII. “We haven’t taken our foot off the accelerator, because we do see the transformation of EVs occurring,” Wager said.
It’s Time To Go Electric
Likewise, Hyundai is investing big in EV, with both digital marketing and television advertising. During the NFL playoffs Hyundai launched its new EV campaign, “It’s Time To Go Electric,” starring Kevin Bacon and his daughter, Sosie Bacon. It features an older, less tech-savvy father who is making the switch to electric. The future, it seems, is for every generation, and automakers are getting them all the message about EVs. “There has been a shift in terms of what vehicle manufacturers are advertising or putting in front of the spotlight, and EVs are definitely the top candidate for that,” said Zack Krelle, industry analyst at automotive digital marketplace TrueCar. “Since automakers don’t need to incentivize vehicles for sales, they may shift the focus to vehicles that they want consumers to start increasing their awareness of.”
Strong’s Role in This Trend
As a car dealer, the strategy of branding EVs is very important during your evolution with the industry. When you invest in yourself as the go-to source for EVs and other vehicles, you become top of mind for customers in your area the next time they’re in the market for a new car. At Strong Automotive Merchandising, we have a large team of experts who have years of experience in digital and traditional advertising. We know that continuous marketing has a proven payoff, and we can keep you in front of buyers.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.