No Lift Expected for Auto Ad Spending in Print, But Web Sees Pickup

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By: Jennifer Saba

The outlook for automotive advertising spending — at least when it comes to newspapers — is not expected to show much improvement in 2006, according to a recent note issued by Banc of America Securities.

Analysts from the research firm attended a newspaper conference at the Detroit Auto Show and came away this idea: manufacturers will continue their love affair with the Web in order to attract a younger demographic.

The good news is that Chevrolet is still a believer in newspapers as the medium will be an “integral part of their media mix,” the note said. Chevrolet likes newspapers because they’re trustworthy, targetable, offer flexible ad sizes, and deliver messages quickly.

If only other auto brands shared the same sentiment.

Ford is increasingly taking a narrow approach with its marketing. Ford found success advertising on MySpace.com for the launch of Fusion. “Historically, Ford has spent 4% to 5% of marketing dollars on the Internet to support a launch. With Generation X-ers the target demo for Fusion, Ford has spent 20% of their overall budget online,” said the note. Ford did use newspapers for national branding.

Kia too will launch new models in newspapers, though their focus is even more targeted than Ford since they only have 12 models.

Though Chevrolet reiterated its support of The Daily Miracle, it found an online campaign had compelling results. Those homepage takeovers seem to be working. Chevrolet used them on sites like Yahoo and MSN and garnered 2 million click-throughs to Chevy.com.

But newspaper Web sites will benefit. “While research indicates that newspapers remain a key part of the buying process, it’s partially because of potential buyers going to local newspaper affiliated Web sites,” said the note.

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