Automaker TV Spending Drops 13.1% In Q2

Automakers are off to a slower start this year in estimated national linear TV spending. 

Spending in the second quarter is down 13.1% ($493.2 million  vs. $508.9 million) while year-to-date spending has dropped 6.7% ($1.2 billion vs. $1.3 billion), per

Household TV impressions have also fallen 14.2% for the quarter (69.7 billion vs. 81.2 billion) and are down 11.9% year-to-date (136.3 billion vs. 154.7 billion.)

The top five brands by estimated national TV ad spending for second quarter were Toyota ($48.6 million), Nissan ($45.5 million), Kia ($37.6 million), Lexus ($35.9 million) and Subaru ($33.5 million).

Nine of the top 10 programs by auto industry TV ad spend in Q2 were sports or sports-related, led by the NBA, which accounted for over 19% of the industry’s total outlay for the quarter. Men’s college basketball was close behind, capturing almost 16% of automakers’ second quarter spend.



Toyota allocated 36% of its Q2 budget toward NBA games and another 13% to the U.S. Olympic Trials, while Nissan went even bigger on basketball, committing 47% of its Q2 spend to college games and 21% to the NBA. Subaru was the only brand in the top five that eschewed sports in favor of general entertainment and reality programming. 

“Sports may have been the name of the game for automaker TV ad reach in Q2, but that’s just part of the larger story,” Stuart Schwartzapfel, executive vice president, media partnerships at, tells Marketing Daily. “Spanish-language programming also provided a key growth opportunity for the industry, with Q2 automotive ad impressions increasing by 72% year-over-year, as these brands continue to create new inroads with Spanish-language audiences.”

The most-seen automaker ads by share of household TV ad impressions in the second quarter was Dodge, Inner Child Intervention (2.22%); Ram Trucks, The Calling (1.60%); Subaru, Push Your Limits (1.60%); Kia, Built for the Unstoppable (1.54%) and Lexus: Paradox (1.41%).

As part of iSpot's creative assessment survey, likeability measures an ad's ability to appeal to viewers, based on results from the survey prompt “I like this ad.”

The top automaker ads by likeability among the top 20 most-seen ads for the quarter were Dodge,  Inner Child Intervention (+13.8% more likeable than the Q2 automotive norm); Mercedes-Benz, Trinit-E (+8.7%); Nissan, Wrong Turn (+7.4%); Jeep, Room for the Unexpected (+7.1%) and Subaru, Push Your Limits (+5.3%).

The clear winner for the quarter, Dodge”s “Inner Child Intervention” from GSD&M harnessed humor mixed with high-octane visuals to engage viewers, as a tattooed kid takes his adult self on joy ride to show off the “totally torqued-out” Hornet R/T model.

The top five brands by share of automaker household TV ad impressions for second quarter were Toyota (9.93%), Lexus (8.10%), Hyundai (7.56%), Ford (6.31%) and Subaru (6.02%).

The biggest estimated national linear TV ad spend increases among top 15 brands for second quarter this year vs. last were Genesis (+270.4%), Ford (+159.9%), Jeep (+77.9%), Acura (+49.1%) and Subaru (+21.3%), per

Basketball was the primary reason for these brands’ year-over-year spend increase. Genesis spent $2.8 million during NBA games in Q2 2024 vs $6.5K in Q2 2023, while Ford increased its NBA Q2 spend by 9x year-over-year.

The top programs for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions were NBA (8.92%), MLB (4.55%), NHL (2.55%), SportsCenter (1.28%) and U.S. Olympic Trials (1.16%), per

Although the U.S. Olympic Trials didn’t start until mid-June, it still generated enough impressions (mostly from Toyota ads) to make the top five programs for the industry.

Next story loading loading..