Car Dealers Expect Great Things in Super Bowl Afterglow | Edmunds

Car Dealers Expect Great Things in Super Bowl Afterglow


Just the Facts:
  • Car dealerships tell Edmunds they expect to win the 2014 Super Bowl advertising blitz, with the ads giving consumers a favorable brand impression, driving them to Web sites and ultimately the showroom.
  • If the commercial drives consumers to brand and dealership Web sites, the ad is considered a success.
  • "The idea is to bring awareness to the brand," said Jimmy Ellis, chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council.

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — While the Seattle Seahawks triumphed in the 2014 Super Bowl, dealerships across the country know they're the real winners of the game's advertising blitz.

"The idea is to bring awareness to the brand," said Jimmy Ellis, vice president of the Jim Ellis Auto Group, with three Volkswagen dealerships in Atlanta and chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council.

While he's been publically critical of VW's Super Bowl commercials in the past for being too lighthearted, including its award-winning 2011 "The Force," he believes Sunday's "It's a Wonderful Life" spoof, with an engineer getting his wings when a VW reaches 100,000 miles, will help to drive buyers to the showroom.

"VW has more vehicles on the road with over 100,000 miles than any other brand," Ellis said. "That will be a surprise to some car shoppers and the ad creatively shows how really durable Volkswagens are."

Ellis has seen Web traffic to his dealer site's increase after previous Super Bowls, and he hopes to see an immediate difference in showroom traffic this year as well.

Pete Pannier, the dealer principal at Northgate Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram in Cincinnati, will gauge the success of the Bob Dylan's two-minute "America's Import" ad on how often it acts as a conversation starter.

"When people come into our service department, they talk about the Chrysler commercial and when they come in our showroom, they talk about the Chrysler commercial," he said.
"When I'm out in public some place, they talk about it. Last year we had our auto show right after and even all the other dealers were talking about it how great our ad was. That's how I quantify its success."

Hollywood rather than Super Bowl commercials drive shoppers to Harbor Chevrolet in Long Beach, California, said Chris Smith, general sales manager.

"When that Transformers movie with the Bumblebee came out (in 2009) with the new Camaro in it, despite it being two years before the car would be released, we had people coming in every day wanting it," Smith said. "I don't see that with the Super Bowl ads, but we can always hope."

Today's car shopper does research online before setting foot in the showroom, so if a Super Bowl ad drives someone to a Web site, the commercial is highly successful, said Ian Beavis, executive vice president of Nielson Global Automotive.

Edmunds says: Which Super Bowl commercial are you talking about this morning?

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