Automotive TV Spending Rises, UAW Strike Unlikely To Affect Spending Initially

Automotive estimated national TV spending was up 15.3% year-over-year in August to $113.2 million vs. $98.2 million in August. 2022.

Impressions were also up 16.1% to 28.6 billion in August vs. 24.7 billion in August 2022, per

The top five brands by estimated national TV ad opening for August 2023 were  Ram Trucks ($12.5 million), Subaru ($10.5 million), Chevrolet ($8.8 million), Kia ($8.1 million) and Jeep ($8 million).

The most-seen automaker ads by share of household TV ad impressions in  August 2023 was Chevrolet: Build (5.21%), Ram Trucks: Opportunity (3.61%), Subaru: A Beautiful Silence (2.41%), Subaru: Adopt a Classroom: Loves Learning (2.25%) and Kia: Bird’s Eye View (2.08%).



The United Auto Workers went on strike against the Detroit Three automakers (General Motors, Ford and Stellantis) last week.  Work stoppage at selected plants is unlikely to affect ad spending unless the situation drags on for many weeks, according to an expert.

“The level of dealer stock is the determinant,” Ian Beavis, chief strategy officer for AMCI Global, tells Marketing Daily. “Dealer stock levels are decent, so I expect little pullback unless it goes for more than three weeks.”

Local and scatter advertising is bought on a monthly basis, he says. TV in the upfront can be moved.  “Keep in mind there has been a pullback already due to the entertainment strikes,” he adds.

The top auto brands leaned into sports more in August 2023 vs. August 2022. Ram Trucks increased its estimated August national TV ad spend by 108% year-over-year, with notable increases in outlay for sports including preseason NFL games (+242%), NASCAR Cup Series (+202%) and the Little League Baseball World Series (+144%) compared to August 2022, per 

While Subaru’s spend was fairly flat year-over-year, it had a 150% increase in outlay across a variety of sports and related programming. Chevrolet went big with NFL (+724% YoY increase), as did Kia (+248% YoY increase) — but Jeep’s NFL spend was almost identical this August vs. August 2022.

The top five brands by share of automaker household TV ad impressions for  August 2023 were Chevrolet (8.89%), Toyota (7.82%), Ram Trucks (6.61%), Hyundai (6.11%) and Subaru (6.03%), per

The biggest estimated spend increases among top 15 brands by spend in August 2023 vs. a year-ago were Mazda (+4,658%), Ram Trucks (+108%), Chevrolet (+98.3%), Volkswagen (+65.8%) and Honda (+58.7%).

Much of Mazda’s whopping 48-times year-over-year increase in spend is due to a heavier investment in sports, particularly NFL games, which accounted for more than 90% of the automaker’s August 2023 outlay. Mazda did not advertise during NFL games in August 2022.

Football’s August return saw automakers taking advantage of preseason action to reach TV’s largest audiences, says Stuart Schwartzapfel, executive vice president, media partnerships, at iSpot.

“But TV ad impressions during Spanish-language programming also continued to grow as auto brands diversify ad messaging and ad placements to speak to a wider audience of consumers,” Schwartzapfel tells Marketing Daily.

The top programs for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions in August 2023 were NFL (1.99%), MLB (0.72%), House Hunters (0.61%), Today (0.58%) and SportsCenter (0.54%).

The top networks for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions in August 2023 were NBC (3.07%), MSNBC (2.43%), Univision (2.32%), CBS (2.23%) and ABC (2.21%). 

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