Honda, Chevy, BMW, Chrysler Olympics Ads Pay Off

Honda, Chevy, BMW and Chrysler all received significant attention at auto shopping sites online after running ads during the opening ceremony of the Rio Summer Olympics.

That’s according to Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, which analyzed Web traffic to the and Web sites last Friday night. Web traffic on Friday was compared to previous Fridays to gauge any pop potentially driven by the advertising during the opening ceremony. 

Particularly strong findings were seen for the Honda Ridgeline, which more than doubled its traffic on both sites. The Chevrolet brand experienced gains of 8% and 6% on KBB and Autotrader, respectively, and the BMW X5, which saw a gain of 100% on (and a smaller but still substantial gain on Autotrader), and the Chrysler Pacifica, which jumped 88% on Autotrader.



Ads airing during major events like the Super Bowl and now the Rio Olympics resonate best with consumers when they tell a story, says Michelle Krebs, senior analyst, Autotrader. 

“Case in point is the ‘Power of the [Honda] Ridgeline’ commercial that was a favorite and generated the most traffic on KBB and Autotrader sites,” Krebs says. “The ad literally builds a story with materials unloaded from the Ridgeline’s bed.”

Increasingly, consumers watch a big event like the Super Bowl and now the 2016 Rio Olympics on their big-screen TVs. 

“At the same time, they are using their mobile devices — a second screen — to look up information related to the event or respond to ads that interest them, as we saw clearly on KBB and Autotrader with vehicles advertised during Opening Ceremony,” Krebs says.

For the behavioral analyses, Cox Automotive looked at traffic to advertised models or brands in the hour after each ad ran and compared it to the same hour from the previous Friday. These findings aggregate the results into a national view by combining behaviors across each respective time zone as the ads appeared. There were substantial increases not only for advertised models, but even across full brands (which is very hard to accomplish) when the focus of an ad was not isolated to a particular model.  

Visitors to were asked for their reaction to the ads during the Olympics. The Ridgeline and Chevrolet brand commercials were well-received in terms of likability, but other automotive ads were also cited by 10% or more as favorites. 

Almost three out of four respondents (72%) planned to watch the Olympics on live TV, with other devices (15% smartphone, 9% tablet) also playing a secondary role in viewing intentions. Respondents planned to watch a wide range of Olympic broadcasting, with Opening Ceremonies, nightly prime-time highlights broadcasts, and live events leading the way.

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