Wednesday, February 14, 2018
by Harry Rathod

Automotive advertising – is it evolving?

I'm sure we can all agree that times are changing in the automotive industry – and we see this every day at Denfield with many clients in this sector. The concept of a 'car' is continuously evolving as a result of new technologies emerging all the time, implemented to improve interior comfort, travelling efficiency and even vehicle power with the push for electric.

It's hugely important for carmakers to shout about these new features and advertise them correctly – but in addition to getting that vital information across, they also have to make it catchy and attractive. This can be difficult though, especially with the Advertising Standards Bureau's FCIA Code to adhere to.

The difficulty lies in the fact that carmakers are living in testing times where every penny of their investment must ultimately lead to profit, which is why when they're feeling the pinch, the first thing that tends to get cut is marketing budget.

To highlight how automotive advertising can be done well when it's really invested in, here's a selection of car advertisements that caught my eye...

Let's start with Audi, who I didn't pay much notice to until about three years ago – but then I started to notice them as a brand. What particularly made them stand out from other automotive manufacturers is how their adverts focus on the cars and home in on their features.

Three Audi adverts in particular have really stood out to me, including the Audi Sport 2016 R8 Spin where an Audi R8 does donuts in slow motion, and the Audi RS 3 Sportback 'Born Restless' campaign where an Audi RS3 is strapped down like a beast and breaks free. Audi has gone creative with some of its concepts, such as the Audi RS 3 'Birth'. In this ad, an Audi RS 3 is born from an Audi R8, highlighting how the RS 3 is simply an R8 in Sportback guise.

One advert that caught my eye years ago was for the Citroën C4, where the car transformed into a breakdancing robot! It went against the norm at the time as nothing came close to being on the same level as this, helped by the fact that it was one of the first advertisements to use CGI.

With a techy soundtrack, the advert did amazing things for Citroën's image at the time and appealed to a younger audience. This advert is also considered one of the best car advertisements of all time.

In 2003, Honda created The Cog, an advert where they created their own version of the Rube Goldberg machine; this was made from various parts of the Honda Accord, ranging from a small cog at the start of the advert to huge pieces towards the end, including the entire interior of the car!

As each sequence builds to another, it ultimately ends with the Honda Accord rolling off a ramp and triggering the Accord banner to fall, followed by a voiceover saying: “Isn't it nice when things just...work?” This advert stood out to me as it very successfully built that much-needed anticipation towards the end of the ad.

The future for automotive advertising

All in all, advertisements are key to carmakers – but what's changing is the way they advertise cars, as there are many forms of media to do this by, such as social media, virtual reality, even in gaming, where within the game of Need for Speed Payback, BMW unveiled the new M5 as a drivable car!

But my question is, could these smaller, less broad forms of advertising kill off the traditional car advertisements? I certainly hope not – what do you think?