Automakers spent an estimated $336 million on national TV spending in December, down 9.8% from December 2021, according to iSpot.tv.
Despite the decrease, December TV ad impressions were up to 31 billion, a 4.2% increase from the same period a year ago.
The top five brands in estimated spending for the month were Chevrolet ($32.9 million), Toyota ($31.6 million), Hyundai ($27.2 million), Ford ($21.6 million) and GMC ($21.6 million).
The most-seen automaker ads in December were: Chevrolet: Do What You Love (3.98% of automaker TV ad impressions), Hyundai: Own Every Mile - Big Sky (3.41%), GMC: Puppy (3.37%), Jeep: ‘Tis the Season (2.77%) and Subaru: Portraits of Love (2.57%).
Automakers found creative ways to get holiday season messaging in front of audiences, wherever they were watching, says Stuart Schwartzapfel, executive vice president, media partnerships at iSpot.tv.
“Even with increased emphasis on NFL, automotive brands still maintained investment in holiday movies and reality programming, while adding the World Cup to the mix as well to maximize reach to as many consumers as possible,” Schwartzapfel tells Marketing Daily.
Chevrolet’s December TV spending grew by 35% year-over-year, as the brand put more spend on NBA and NHL games, plus the World Cup. Chevy also aired significantly more national TV ads, with 9,848 in Dec. 2022 versus 2,635 in Dec. 2021.
Although still the second highest spender, Toyota’s December TV ad spend was 21% lower year-over-year, as the brand decreased investment in NFL games but added more toward NBA and Spanish-language World Cup airings.
The top five brands by share of automaker TV ad impressions for the month were similar with Chevrolet leading with 9.44%, followed by Hyundai (7.36%), Toyota (6.82%), Ford (6.32%) and Subaru (5.89%), per iSpot.tv.
The biggest increases among top 15 automotive brands by spending for the month compared to December 2021 were Genesis (+251.0%), Volkswagen (+91.3%), Kia (+42.5%), Chevrolet (+35.3%) and Honda (+6.1%).
After placing just 30 TV ads last December, Genesis aired nearly 1,000 in December 2022 while emphasizing both NFL games and holiday movies across cable networks.
Volkswagen’s climb was fueled by a World Cup focus across both Telemundo and Fox (the two networks combined for more than 50% of VW’s December spend), and more budget put toward Hallmark holiday programming as well as HGTV shows, according to iSpot.tv.
For Kia, the brand spent more year-over-year on NBA and NFL games, while also dedicating more budget toward popular syndicated shows like The Big Bang Theory (283% more spend during that program alone).
The top programs for automakers by TV ad impressions share of voice were NFL (14.38%), college football (8.35%), Copa Mundial De la FIFA 2022 (2.36%), NBA (1.82%) and men’s college basketball (1.30%).
Automakers were entrenched even more in premium sports programming. Share of impressions climbed year-over-year for NFL games (from 13.70% to 14.38%), college football (6.92% to 8.35%) and the NBA (1.19% to 1.82%), while Spanish- and English-language World Cup games combined for another 3.52%.
Of the top 20 programs for automotive brand TV ad impressions, half were sports-related (compared to just six in Dec. 2021).
The top networks by share of automaker TV ad impressions for the month were Fox (9.41%), NBC (9.14%), ESPN (8.00%), CBS (7.77%) and Telemundo (5.39%).