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Volkswagen Drives Home With Nielsen’s Top Auto Ad Award
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Volkswagen Drives Home With Nielsen’s Top Auto Ad Award

From “Zoom zoom” to “Like a rock,” automotive ads have a way of resonating with consumers—and making lasting impressions. But not all creatives are created equal. Today, Nielsen announced the winners of its 7th Annual Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards, and Volkswagen’s “Dog Strikes Backtook the top honor of Ad of the Year.

Based on the results of Nielsen’s national TV ad effectiveness surveys, the awards take into account each ad’s ability to be remembered overall, to have the brand remembered, to have the message remembered and, finally, to be liked. The winning TV ad—“Dog Strikes Back,” featuring a chubby pooch compelled to work out after being unable to fit through his doggy door—was the top ad out of nearly a thousand in the running for Nielsen’s Automotive Ad of the Year. 

The spot, which demonstrates how the dog, like the new VW Beetle, is “back and better than ever,” garnered ad recall levels 95 percent higher than the average auto ad. The ad’s performance rivaled that of some of the best brands across all product categories.

“This year, we are celebrating the creative process and its power to tell riveting stories and transform the viewers’ impressions of a brand. All of our finalists and winners were highly successful in breaking through to the television viewer at significantly high rates—thanks to great creative,” said Tom Rivers, Senior Vice President and Account Director for Nielsen’s global automotive unit.

Other big winners included:

  • Best Green Ad: Ford “Taurus Engineers – Mazen”
  • Best Sales Event Campaign: Ford “Swap Your Ride”
  • Luxury Campaign of the Year: Mercedes-Benz “C-Class”
  • Spanish TV Advertiser of the Year: Toyota

The Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards, presented at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, are the only awards measuring the effectiveness of automobile TV ads.

Methodology

Nielsen TV Brand Effect employs a nationally representative online panel of TV viewers who have watched programs within the past 24 hours. These panelists answer survey questions about the programs they watched and the commercials they were exposed to. Since the panelists respond based on what they watched in a natural environment (as opposed to a clinical research environment), the results reflect real-life reaction to and memory of television commercials. Nielsen logs and issues surveys for all national commercials within its coverage dayparts and networks.

For the auto awards, Nielsen Global Automotive leveraged four key metrics:

  • General Recall – Was the ad memorable enough to break through
  • Brand Recall – Did the TV viewer recall whose ad it was?
  • Message Recall – Did the TV viewer recall the primary message in the ad?
  • Likeability – Was the ad appealing (i.e., did the TV viewer like the ad)?

The finalists for the Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards were determined based on ad performance results from 2012.

Best Green Ad

Results were based on responses from adults 18-54 years old. Green ads were determined based on ads for models that have one of the best MPG/lowest emissions in their class, green company policies, green concept vehicles or ads that have a key message focused on fuel efficiency and or being environmentally friendly. All ads were evaluated at similar media weight, so level of spend was not a factor. The ads were evaluated based on combined performance on ad recall, brand recall and message recall.

Luxury Campaign of the Year

Results were specific to viewers in the luxury demographic: adults 25-54 years old with a household income of $75,000 or above. Ads that were part of the same vehicle or branding campaign were evaluated together. They were evaluated based on combined performance on ad recall, brand recall and likeability.

Spanish-Language TV Advertiser of the Year

Results were specific to viewers in the more general non-luxury target: adults 18-54 years old. Each automotive brand was evaluated based on combined performance of their Spanish-language ads on ad recall, brand recall and likeability.

Best Sales Event Campaign

Results were specific to adults 18-54 years old. Each automotive TV sales event was evaluated based on the combined performance of ad recall, brand recall and message recall, with the results at similar media weight so that media is not the primary driving factor of performance.

Automotive Ad of the Year

Results were specific to adults 18-54 years old. All automotive ads that launched in 2012 were evaluated at similar media weight levels so that media was not the primary driving factor of performance. The ads were evaluated based on ad recall, brand recall and message recall.