The most-read auto stories of the year focused mainly on campaign and personnel changes. However, my top 10 most-read stories includes an odd duck that cannot be ignored.
“La-Z-Boy Taps Kristen Bell, Ditches Brooke Shields“ was not only this reporter’s top read story of 2019, it was the top-read story for all of MediaPost. There’s a bit of an interesting back story. I generally don’t cover retail (that’s my colleague Sarah Mahoney), but I have covered La-Z-Boy several times in the past to pitch in, so the company contacted me last May.
The release touted the new campaign with Kristen Bell (one of 2019’s most-seen stumpers-for-hire, she was also in Samsung, Enterprise and Neutrogena commercials) but failed to mention the dismissal of Brooke Shields, who had served as the furniture company’s pitch person for nine years.
That was noteworthy so I included background about Shields' past involvement and noted it in the headline. La-Z-Boy’s PR company took issue with the headline, preferring that the focus be on Bell’s arrival, but it wasn’t inaccurate, so we didn’t change it. P.S.: The company hasn’t contacted me with any other news to pitch since then.
My other Top 10 stories were auto-related with the exception of one financial services story on Progressive, which clocked in at number eight. It mentioned another popular (albeit fictional) stump woman, Flo: "Progressive Gives Flo A Vacation, Unveils 'Motaur.'"
Coming in at number two was a story about the growing trend of automakers getting into superhero movies: “Audi Teams With Marvel Studios For 'Avengers: Endgame.'"
Tesla got on the charts with the third-most read story, which featured a popular topic overall on MediaPost, search: “Tesla Most-Googled Car Brand By Americans.”
Subaru stories are always well-read, as are stories about animals, so it’s natural that “Subaru Establishes 'National Make A Dog's Day'" would log in at number four.
Three of the top 10 focused on CMO shifts, of which there was no shortage of in 2019. Former Mazda exec Russell Wager’s arrival at Kia came in at number five -- “"Kia Gets New Marketing Chief" -- while the self-explanatory “Hyundai CMO Dean Evans Resigns” and "Jeremy Tucker Out At Nissan North America" came in at numbers six and 10 respectively.
Campaign stories rounded out the rest of the top 10, including "Volkswagen Supports Teachers During Sales Event" at number seven, and a second Kia story, "Kia Launches Redesigned Digital Experience Via Elephant," at number nine.
Here’s looking forward to all the good stories, automotive and otherwise, of 2020.