October Automotive TV Spending Up 11%

Automakers spent an estimated $301 million on national TV in October, up 11% compared to last October’s tally of $271.1 million, according to 

Household TV ad impressions for the month were up 3.2% to 27.9 billion in October, compared to 27 billion a year ago. 

The top five brands by estimated national TV ad spending for the month were Hyundai ($31.3 million), Ford ($26 million), Chevrolet ($25.2 million), Honda ($24.6 million) and Toyota ($24.1 million).

The top five brands by share of automaker household TV ad impressions in October 2023 were Toyota (8.97%), Hyundai (8.61%), Ford (7.82%), Lexus (7.51%) and Honda (7.36%), per

Automakers continue to invest heavily in football, both  NFL and college. Each of the top five auto brands increased estimated national TV ad spend during NFL games compared to October 2022, with Ford going the biggest with an 81-times increase for NFL contests. Ford also upped its spend on college football games by 66-times year-over-year.



Fall sports continued to be a driving force for automotive TV advertising, and brands leaned heavily on NFL and college football in October to reach the biggest audiences, says Stuart Schwartzapfel, executive vice president, media partnerships at iSpot. 

“Without scripted shows, automakers took advantage of the large swath of reality programming, as viewers tuned into both new and old episodes of unscripted favorites across TV,” Schwartzapfel tells Marketing Daily.

Outside of sports, several automakers – including Hyundai and Toyota – invested in October episodes of "Dancing With the Stars." That’s a notable difference from October 2022, when no auto brands bought ads during the program. 

Elsewhere in reality TV, the auto industry as a whole increased spending during "The Voice" by 27% compared to October 2022. 

Besides sports, programming with some of the biggest year-over-year impression increases for automakers included "House Hunters" (+153% vs. October 2022), "Family Feud" (+87%) and "Below Deck Mediterranean" (+74%).

The biggest estimated spend increases among top 15 brands by spend for the month compared to a year-ago were Genesis (+811.2%), Ford (+765.9%), Honda (+40.1%), Ram Trucks (+37.8%) and Kia (+32.0%).

Genesis placed a heavy emphasis on MLB with over half of its total outlay for the month going toward baseball games on Fox and TBS. It did not advertise during MLB games in October 2022. 

Honda increased its spend during nationally televised NHL games by 85% year-over-year. Ram Trucks increased estimated spend on NFL games by 65% compared to October 2022, while Kia upped its investment in NFL by 187% year-over-year, and also went bigger on House Hunters (+689% YoY), per

The top programs for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions for October 2023 were NFL (11.30%), college football (7.43%), MLB (5.32%), NBA (0.60%) and "The Voice" (0.53%).

Football continues to fuel automaker TV ad impressions, with the industry seeing a 41% increase in impressions during NFL games this October vs. October 2022, while college football delivered 22% more impressions year-over-year. NBC’s Football Night in America saw a 60% increase in automaker impressions compared to October 2022.  

The top networks for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions for October 2023 were NBC (8.17%), Fox (7.71%), CBS (4.74%), ABC (4.30%) and ESPN (3.46%), per

Football continues to be key in delivering automaker TV ad impressions across all of the top five networks. Over half of automaker TV ad impressions on NBC came from NFL games, with college football generating another 11%. 

On Fox, NFL games generated 43% of automaker impressions while 47% of the industry’s CBS impressions came from NFL. For ABC and ESPN, college football played a bigger part with 41% of auto impressions on ABC, 51% on ESPN.

The most-seen automaker ads by share of household TV ad impressions for the month were: Honda: Keep Dreaming (2.84%), Lexus: Battle Out There (2.70%),\ Subaru: Push Your Limits (2.21%), Subaru: National Make a Dog's Day: Waiting (1.87%) and Kia: Bird’s Eye View (1.65%).

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