Automakers spent an estimated $503.9 million in February, up a whopping 154% from February 2021 ($198.1 million) thanks largely to the Olympics, per iSpot.tv.
TV ad impressions, however, were down 24.5% year over year, 21.9 billion in February 2022 vs. 28.9 in February 2021.
It’s no surprise that Toyota, one of the lead sponsors of the Olympic games and athletes, was the top spender, coming in at $178.4 million, with 76% of national TV ad spend during the games, per iSpot.
The No. 2 brand by spend, Chevrolet ($108.1 million), put a similar emphasis on the Olympics, with nearly 80% of its national TV ad spend allocated there.
Rounding out the top five were Ford ($36.0 million), Nissan ($22.4 million) and Lexus ($22.0 million).
Toyota and Chevrolet reaped the benefits in TV ad impressions for the month, finishing at the top with 4.32 billion and 2.08 billion, respectively. Rounding out the top five for impressions were Lexus (1.75 billion), Hyundai (1.58 billion) and Nissan (1.38 billion), per iSpot.
The most-seen automaker ads for the month were Nissan: Electric Cars For Electric Drivers (646 million TV ad impressions), Chevrolet: Taco Truck (609 million), Toyota: Born for Bringin’ It (595 million), Toyota: Born for the Wild (582 million) and Subaru: Shopping (487 million).
The biggest spend increases among top 15 brands in Feb. 2022 vs. Feb. 2021) were Polestar (which had no spending a year ago), BMW (up 8,140%), Chevrolet (up 1,020%).Toyota (up 702%) and Nissan (up 230%). Notably, Polestar, BMW, Toyota and Nissan all had national Super Bowl spots.
“As viewership continues to fracture across linear and streaming programming, it puts an even greater premium on tune-in tied to major tentpole events, and experienced advertisers like auto brands are clearly responding by tailoring advertising to these big spots,” says Stuart Schwartzapfel, senior vice president, media partnerships at iSpot.tv.
All but three of the top 15 automaker brands by spend in February increased year-over-year national TV ad spend, with 11 climbing by over 30%.
The top programs for automakers by TV ad impressions share of voice in February 2022 were Winter Olympics (17.1% of impressions), men’s college basketball (3.4%), Super Bowl LVI (2.3%), NBA (2.1%) and PGA Tour Golf (1.0%), per iSpot.
Auto brands flocked to sporting events to a far greater extent in February 2022 than February 2021. The automakers were the top brand industry by impressions during the Winter Olympics and No. 2 during the Super Bowl.
Comparing year-over-year, sports made up 16.9% of automaker TV ad impressions last February, but 34.4% this year. Meanwhile, news programs delivered 23.4% of impressions last February, but 13.8% this year.
The top networks for automaker TV ad impressions for the month were NBC (19.0% of impressions), CBS (4.8%), USA (4.5%), ABC (3.4%) and ESPN (3.3%).
Given the emphasis on the Olympics and Super Bowl, it makes sense that NBC would lead the way by share of impressions for auto brands in February. In total, NBCU-owned networks made up over 29% of automaker TV ad impressions for the month.