Under the Tentpoles: Oscars Boosted Tech Brands; Super Bowl Drove Auto Brands

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While some automotive advertisers were toting up their marketing gains from ads that they ran during Super Bowl XLVI last month, some tech brands were gaining affirmation of their own strategies for Sunday’s appearances in another “tentpole” TV event, the Oscars.

Volkswagen, for example, generated 1.9 billion media impressions through its Super Bowl advertising and associated activities, including 32 million views on YouTube of its much-touted video for the game, including the “Star Wars” canine teaser and its “The Dog Strikes Back” ad for the Volkswagen Beetle (above). That produced a “media-equivalent value” of $62 million compared with the estimated cost of $3.5 million to $4 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl time.

“That was a strong payback from what was a significant investment in Super Bowl presence,” Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning told reporters on Thursday.[more]

Meanwhile, General Motors will still toting up similar numbers from its handful of Chevrolet ads during the Big Game, said Don Johnson, the company’s vice president of U.S. sales. “We had a great presence in the Super Bowl [that produced] great chatter,” he said. “It was a good investment.”

Alan Batey, Chevy’s chief, took that further. “The Super Bowl was fantastic for us,” he said. “What’s great now is that it’s not a one-day event.” He said that the brand especially noticed an impact on awareness and sales of Sonic, the subcompact that is Chevrolet’s newest model and was subject of one spot during the game. Sonic sales in February skyrocketed to more than 8,000 units, best since its debut last fall.

However, when it came to the Oscars telecast last Sunday, tech brands, especially Samsung, appeared initially to be the big winners. Samsung’s ads for its Galaxy Note smart phone and Smart TV with Smart Interaction pulled the evening’s highest scores in a survey of viewers by Ace Metrix.

And tech brands combined to garner eight of the top 10 scores for their ads, Ace reported, including Google’s “Instantly Saved” and Sprint’s “No Limited for this Device.”

Interestingly, none of Hyundai’s multiple ads on the evening apparently impressed the Ace panel, and neither did Mercedes-Benz’s presence. In fact, the “Lots of Corn” ad for the Hyundai Azera was one of the least effective Oscars ads, Ace said.

But there’s no shortage of tentpole events where auto and other brands can try again as the year goes on. There’s the Summer Olympics, for example. And later this month, NCAA’s March Madness resumes.

Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand is one of the two key auto advertisers for the tournament; GM’s Buick is the other. The brand plans to highlight its new Verano small sedan.

“We are going to be in a big way in the NCAAs,” GM’s Johnson promised.

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