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TrueCar Finds Super Bowl Auto Advertising Worth the Cost

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Feb. 13, 2015—TrueCar Inc. announced that its Super Bowl advertising proved to be efficient, with the average automotive advertiser achieving a projected 2.4 percent increase in retail market share.

Overall auto brands that advertised during the game gained a combined 0.9 percentage point of retail share compared to those that did not.

TrueCar's comparison of new vehicle order-generation activity in the week following the Super Bowl with a similar week of the prior month found that most auto advertisers got a retail share lift after the game. Nissan led with 0.4 percentage points of projected incremental retail share, for a total increase of 4.6 percent. Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Jeep also did well, with gains of 0.3, 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point and 5.9 percent, 5.6 percent and 2.9 percent increases in share, respectively.

"Isolating the incremental sales associated with Super Bowl advertising reveals that the game can be a really effective marketing channel," John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, said in a release. "The marginal unit economics of the auto industry are such that automakers are willing to pay a surprisingly high price tag for incremental sales."

Super Bowl participants Nissan, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Jeep achieved more efficient cost per incremental sales unit than 2014's average blanket incentive spending. The cost for each incremental unit sale last year was $23,200 when using general market, non-targeted incentives, such as rebates and other price reductions, TrueCar analysis shows.

The cost of airing a 30-second spot during this year's game was as much as $4.5 million, according to AdAge. Even at that level, Super Bowl campaigns can be highly efficient.

"The great lesson here for automakers is that big strategic spending on big marketing platforms like the Super Bowl can make a lot of sense, especially when you've got a message that ties to the brand and resonates with car buyers," Krafcik said. "Combining those big strategic marketing initiatives with TrueCar's targeted incentive programs is a smart way for automakers to build their brands, grow market share and delight more car buyers."

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