NAA Launches Consumer Auto Poll

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By: Jennifer Saba

In an unusual move, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) is reaching out to consumers to find out what autos they prefer.

The effort — a first for the behind the scenes association — is meant to gauge the effectiveness of newspaper auto advertising.

Roughly 100 papers, including The Boston Globe, The Sun in Baltimore, and the Chicago Tribune, have agreed to run the NAA’s full-page ad featuring 20 different vehicles that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year. The ads run Jan. 13 through Jan. 20 along with banners for Web sites.

Readers are enticed to go to www.naa.org/autos and take a poll about the 20 vehicles spotlighted. After a simple registration, users are asked their opinion on the vehicles: “I like it,” “I would buy it,” or “This is not for me.”

Those participating have a chance at winning a 2006 Pontiac Solstice Roadster, which was purchased by the NAA. The winner will be announced in February.

The NAA will share the results with the industry and the auto manufactures in mid-February. “I think we are going to learn a great deal from this,” said Jake Kelderman, director for auto industry relations at the NAA. “We are looking forward to the results.”

Auto advertising has been a mixed bag for the newspaper industry. While advertising from manufactures, which falls under the national category, has been good, newspapers continue to struggle with dealer associations and local dealership advertising.

“I think dealers and associations are trying to work through the most effective way to market since media is fracturing like crazy,” Kelderman said. “Having said that, I think the studies will indicate that newspapers are the most important source of information [for buying decisions].”

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