Huh? Car Sales Rise But Not Advertising.

Robust sales usually prompt bursts in ad spending by auto manufacturers and dealers, yet revenue is flat for first-half 2014. It could be digital is being undercounted.

Ford Splits With TV Pitchman Mike Rowe

Known for his casual, laid-back charm, Rowe was the face of Ford cars, trucks and service for seven years in TV spots created by WPP Group’s Team Detroit. “We decided after a great association with Mike Rowe for several years that it was time to move in a new direction,” said a Ford spokesman. “We are no longer working together.”

NIELSEN GLOBAL ADVIEW PULSE REPORT

Big Ad Categories Pull Back On Spending

According to Nielsen’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report, advertisers spent less on automotive advertising in the first half of the year than they did in 2012. Auto ad spend decreased by 3.1% in the first six months of 2013, but maintained a 9.2% share of ad spend. And ad budgets in financial services and entertainment took hits of 1.7% and 1.2% for the year to date, now accounting for 6.3% and 13% of total ad spend for the period, respectively.

Auto Advertisers Relying More Heavily On TV

A new report from Kantar Media finds that from 2009, at the start of the recession, to 2012, TV’s share of auto ad spending rose by almost 10 percentage points, going from 53.9% in 2009 to 63.3% in 2012. At the same time, the percentage of auto budgets dedicated to newspapers, magazines and even new media fell.

TVB FORWARD

Local TV Needs Multiplatform Auto Options

Nielsen’s Ian Beavis says successful auto campaigns must be tailored to car buyers, who watch slightly less TV than other viewers and tune in most heavily during primetime and latenight. “We need to improve creative across platforms, place advertising where people watch it and cut through clutter.”

Land Rover Unveils Huge TV And Digital Push

Land Rover is launching a considerable integrated campaign this week for its 2014 Range Rover Sport that entails inspiration-minded TV spots, an interactive game called “Race the Sun” and iAds, among other elements. All told, per the brand, the effort — dubbed “Driven To Another Level” — represents the automaker’s biggest global push ever.

LinkedIn Courting Auto Advertisers

As LinkedIn evolves from a job networking site into a professional publishing platform, it wants to expand its ad base as well beyond the B2B category. To that end, the company is touting research indicating the site’s audience is a natural fit for auto advertisers.

OPEN MIKE BY JOHN HANNON

Don’t Miss Out On Auto’s Ad Shift To Digital

As a sales manager, do you know what steps you need to incorporate now to make sure that your sales pros are properly positioned to take advantage of the advertising shift to digital products? The answer lies in four categories: people, knowledge, products and return on investment.

Borrell: Auto Advertising Shifts Into Online

Online and mobile outlets are expected to see a nearly 19% rise in automotive advertising, while the category continues to drain away from legacy media, according to a new report from Borrell Associates. Newspapers are expected to be hit hardest, with auto ad levels falling almost 30%.

KANTAR MEDIA RESEARCH

Auto Advertising Takes An Unexpected Dip

Following report after report of robust auto sales to start the year, the first-quarter ad spending numbers were a bit of a surprise. Automotive spending, the biggest single advertising category, was down slightly to start the year. It declined 0.5% according to data from Kantar Media, from $3.369 billion in January to March 2012 to $3.352 billion during the same period this year. The reason? The lack of new car launches during the first three months.

Hispanic Networks Bringing In Auto Dollars

This year, both Univision and its main competitor Telemundo (which control roughly 90% of the market between them, with Univision the larger network by quite a bit) have seen upticks in categories that are declining in the general market, notably automotive. Fragmentation has pulled tens of millions of viewers away from live broadcast television and into the worlds of cable, streaming and on-demand content, but one sector of broadcast that seems to be weathering the storm better than most is Spanish-language and otherwise Hispanic-focused broadcast television.

Mitsubishi Back Into Network TV Advertising

Mitsubishi’s campaign for its redesigned 2014 Outlander crossover will have to help the brand find a route back to relevance in the U.S.

Pickups Spur Increase In April Auto Sales

Ford, GM and Chrysler sold a total of 144,042 full-size pickups, up 29% from last April, driven by strength in the U.S. housing industry. Overall sales grew 8.5% to nearly 1.3 million. While that’s the industry’s best April total since 2007, the pace slowed from the first three months of this year.

Auto Ad Spending Revs A Little Lower

Auto advertising has revived right along with auto sales over the past two years, with 2012 spending up more than any other top-10 ad category. But with a slight slowdown in the pace of car sales this year, advertising may slow along with it. Analysts say that the auto advertising boom is reaching its final stages. Though the category will continue to gain modestly in the coming year, it won’t keep the same pace as it did in 2010 through 2012.

Automakers’ Super Bowl Spots Rule YouTube

Carmakers’ Super Bowl commercials like the Mercedes Benz spot starring Kate Upton so far are dominating viewership among the big game’s ads on YouTube. Car company Super Bowl teases or commercials scheduled to run during the big game held the top five spots as of 10 a.m. ET Thursday, YouTube owner Google said Thursday.

TVB FORWARD CONFERENCE

Don’t Take The Auto Recovery For Granted

Citi researcher Itay Michaeli warns that a number of factors are holding back a total rebound in automotive sales. “The recovery should not be taken for granted. It’s not a matter of when. It’s a matter of if.”

KANTAR MEDIA RESEARCH

Foreign Carmakers Drive Up Auto Advertising

Automotive advertising has been on the rise the couple few months, with foreign manufacturers and dealers helping to drive up spending in the category despite the economic woes that continue to plague the country. Through May total auto spending is up 3%, according to Kantar Media, with gains during May and April helping to balance out slight losses earlier in the year.

GM’s Ads Aren’t Getting The Job Done

The automaker’s lackluster ads and loss of marketing head Joel Ewanick raise doubts about GM’s ability to improve sales longer term. Experts say that even though it’s making better cars and trucks, advertising has failed to get the message across. Despite spending upwards of $4 billion a year on marketing, GM hasn’t been able to dent the perception that other brands are better.

EARNINGS CALL

LIN CEO Sees Auto Gains As Sustainable

Vince Sadusky tells analysts that with automotive back to accounting for a pre-recession level of 26% of its revenue, “from where we sit, we view the auto industry as being healthier than it’s been in a long, long time” and sees it continuing. In addition, the company says to expect 3Q revenues to be up 26% to 33% from the year-ago mark of $97.8 million.

Nissan Rolls Out Big Ad Push For Altima

Nissan North America is launching the campaign for its 2013 Altima. It will be the company’s largest ever. The effort, via TBWAChiatDay, begins with four TV spots and a lot of digital advertising, plus print and out-of-home.

BORRELL ASSOCIATES FORECAST

Auto Ad Spending Seen Growing 14% In ’12

As the U.S. auto industry motors toward a broad recovery, Borrell Associates forecasts that national and local advertising spending will rise nearly 14% in 2012, to $30.8 billion, and that about 40 cents of every media dollar will be channeled toward digital.

UPFRONTS 2012

Auto Ads Likely To Drive Record Upfront

Debt ratings service

Auto Advertisers Slow Incentive Deals

Automotive advertisers have hit the brakes on ads that lure customers with no-money-down offers. On the plus side: U.S. auto sales rose slightly in August. But according to J.D. Power & Associates, the average year-to-date incentive on car purchases is $2,600 per unit compared to over $3,000 in 2008.

TVB FORWARD CONFERENCE

Stations Must Aggressively Sell Car Dealers

With an expected fourth-quarter upsurge in spending by Japanese automakers, stations are urged to demonstrate to dealers the reach of television, as well as options such as time-targeted ads and multi-platform plans.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON SALES

Auto Advertisers Rev Up TV Spending

While the forecasters may quibble about the speed of the auto (and auto advertising) recovery, they all agree there is one and that the growth should continue at some level for the next several years. BIA/Kelsey projects that ad spending by the automotive industry on local television by 2015 will total $4.2 billion annually, equal to 2007 levels, the culmination of a steady turnaround of ad dollars from the low point of 2009. It also projects that spot TV will maintain its 26% share of total local ad spend through 2015.

Q&A WITH GORDON BORRELL

Still A Bright Outlook For Automotive

Automakers and dealerships have hit the brakes on auto spending this year, after roaring back in 2010 following a dismal 2009. But the category will still see healthy gains in 2011. Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, talks about where auto advertising is growing, why newspapers are included in that lot, and what’s driving the shift to online spending.

Belo Copes With Auto Ad Losses

Belo CFO Carey Hendrickson said the station group has experienced cancellations by auto advertisers related to the trouble in Japan, but not at an unanticipated level. That has “remained within our initial expectations” for the second quarter,” he told investors.

Total Auto Ad Spend To Grow 6.4% In 2011

Media companies have been touting the resurgence of the auto category and a Wall Street analyst has put an estimate on it: Spending was up 20% in 2010. That accounted for 32% of overall ad growth. Total category spending was $14.8 billion. In 2011 Michael Nathanson of Nomura projects total auto ad spending to be up 6.4% to $15.7 billion, and rise 7% in 2012 to $16.8 billion.

U.S. Auto Sales Up 17% In January

U.S. auto sales U.S. auto sales U.S. auto sales — helped by fresh models, easing credit terms and strong demand for crossovers and big pickups — rose 17% last month to 819,688 in a fresh sign of the industry’s continuing recovery.

Automakers To Rev Up Ad Spending In 2011

Automakers stepped on the gas when it came to advertising during the U.S. industry’s comeback last year and the spending will only accelerate in 2011 as sales rise and companies tout their newest vehicles.

Auto Dollars To Add Up For Cable In ’11

A strong scatter market and a deluge of automotive dollars have analysts particularly bullish, and many industry observers are predicting a record haul for ad-supported cable in 2011.