Dealers: Use Super Bowl Advertising to Eat Your Competition for Breakfast

Thumbnail of Automotive Marketing Expert Max Steckler

Max Steckler, Vice President of Advertising Products for ADP Digital Marketing

When it comes to Super Bowl advertising, auto marketing expert Max Steckler has one piece of advice for auto dealers: don’t forget about breakfast.

What does he mean? “The Super Bowl is the dance,” Steckler, Vice President of Advertising Products for ADP Digital Marketing, explains. “That’s where the courtship between advertisers and consumers begin.  It’s a whirlwind, and it’s incredibly exciting. But what about after the excitement of the event fades? The one who’s actually going to win that customer relationship is the dealer who thinks about breakfast the morning after.”

Breakfast, in this case, is the retargeting campaign that displays your ads across consumers’ favorite websites long after the dust from The Big Game has settled. “The day after is just as important as the day itself,” Steckler says. “You want to be continuing to reinforce the national ad message so you can draw consumers to your store. If you can get that click, you can continue to fold your brand into that initial, electric Super Bowl experience.”

That’s just one tip the ADP Digital Marketing team offers on how dealers can make their Super Bowl advertising soar, so read on for the rest.

Tips for an Automotive Digital Marketing Upset

  1. Make Your Campaigns More “Likeable.” Gen Y are not only sports-lovers (or at least beer-lovers), they also represent 40% of new car buyers for 2012.  Since we know they’ll be documenting their Super Bowl experience through status updates, why not turns sports fans into your fans? Offer a discount for new “likes” on Facebook, or have people tag their team spirit pictures and award a free oil change for the best decorated car or clever bumper sticker.
  2. Score Big with Search. Search, you say? What does that have to do with a TV ad? Everything, according to ADP’s Chuck Tilton. “For today’s consumer, the viewing experience and the online experience are intrinsically linked,” Tilton says. “Today’s consumer is watching the game on their couch with their laptops on their lap. We know this because when the commercials air, we can literally watch the web traffic jump minute-over-minute. Search is the bridge between those two worlds, so make sure you are showing up for your key phrases,” he said.
  3. Rock your Online Reviews. Who’s rooting for you? When consumers search your name on commercials, are they going to find roaring fans or booing bad sports? “Reviews are now a form of advertising in their own right, and a powerful one at that,” says ADP’s Matt Muilenburg. Therefore, it’s worth your time to pay extra attention to your reputation monitoring tools in the days leading up to the game. It might even be worth doing a “review drive” to pump things up.
  4. Compete and Conquer. That said, if you don’t have an OEM advertising in the game, don’t despair. If you’ve got a great alternative offering, don’t be afraid to launch a “competitive conquesting” PPC campaign pitting your inventory against the advertised model. The Super Bowl’s all about the spirit of competition, right?
  5. Watch your Language. Yes, you read that right. While colorful phrases may be a quintessential part of the viewing experience, it pays to pick your words carefully when it comes to your Super Bowl ad campaign. Avoid a hefty fine by steering clear of phrases like “Super Bowl” or even “Super Sunday” in your advertising. Try “The Big Game” or perhaps something more creative like “The Dallas Duel to the Death.” True fans will get your drift.
  6. No Parked Pages Please. “This is a huge one I see all the time,” ADP’s James Fabin said, “Nothing kills a sports buzz like a ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘Expired’ page, so update all your pages before the Big Day to capitalize on all those crazed fans.”
  7. Mobile-ize Your Fans. As we’ve already noted, Gen-Y is a huge car-buying market, so that’s one good reason to add mobile to your site for this text-happy crowd. Want an even better one? Cobalt’s research shows mobile users are the most serious about actually making a purchase. “Laptops are for research,” Steckler says, “mobile is for finding a car, finding a price, and finding a dealer near you while the consumer is on the go shopping for their vehicle.” In order to convert those Super Bowl leads to the point-of-sale, mobile is a must.
  8. Give your Campaign more Yardage. We’ve talked about the day of, and the day after, but don’t forget about the day before. According to a recent article, Super Bowl advertisers are beginning their campaigns earlier than ever this year, so get in the game and start early to be competitive.

Everyone Loves an Automotive Marketing Underdog

In conclusion, with at least eight auto-makers and car companies airing ads this year (double the usual number) this could very well be one of the most exciting events for automotive advertising in history. Much like the event itself, with the level playing field created by automotive digital advertising and social media, this year truly is anyone’s game, so don’t be afraid to grab your piece of the action.  Go (whatever team you want to win)!

Contributing Writers

Max Steckler is the Vice President of Advertising Products for ADP Digital Marketing Solutions.  An automotive buff in both his professional and personal life, Max spends his spare time restoring vintage Japanese motorcycles, and is preparing for an off-road motorcycle trip to Alaska.

Matt Muilenburg is Vice President of Social Media  for ADP Digital Marketing Solutions, where  he has been working closely with dealers and OEMs to identify new ways to improve automotive retailing and marketing effectiveness.  When not sitting in front of a gadget, you’ll find Matt volunteering at the YMCA, attending his kids academic, musical and athletic events, or releasing stress by working in his yard and garden.

Chuck Tilton is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at ADP Digital Marketing Solutions.  He has worked extensively in the field of digital marketing since 1996.  Outside the office he and his family enjoy camping in the Cascade Mountains and beaches of the Pacific Northwest.

James Fabin is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at ADP Digital Marketing Solutions. He founded The Hyundai Connection in 1994, one of the earliest online communities for car enthusiasts. In his spare time, he works with local animal rescue shelters creating videos of dogs in need of a loving home.



The Cobalt Group


Differentiation Versus Alignment: The New Digital Marketing Debate

Missed the Digital Dealer Conference this year? No worries; you can still check out this insightful panel on an ever-controversial  issue: aligning your advertising with the OEM versus differentiating your brand with your own dealership flavor. Almost everyone in the industry has a strong opinion on this topic, but which method actually boosts your bottom line?  Dealers like Steve Rodgers , General Manager at Volkswagen Pasadena and Scott Montgomery, General Sales Manager of Les Stanford Chevrolet/Cadillac weigh in on how they walk the tightrope between alignment and differentiation to find their own delicate advertising balance.

Where do you stand on this issue? Let us know in the comments below!

The Cobalt Group

“The Way It Should Be”: Welcome Lynnwood Edition

A  Company Under One Roof Means a Rockstar Customer Experience

Account Advocate Erika Myrick helps out with setting up the first day

It’s official: 605 Union Square will never be the same. Today marked what CEO John Holt described as a “grand reunion,” the first time since 2007 that all of Cobalt’s office-based associates are together in one building.  Today the Lynnwood office has officially relocated to Seattle. Welcome Lynnwood!

As about 300 Lynnwood associates made their first snowflake-flecked trek to the International District this past Monday, the transition from Northenders to newly minted Seattle commuters was in full effect.  From the elevator exclamations of “food in walking distance!” to traffic-swapping stories and technical challenges, one only had to look at the buzzing lunchroom to know the new building vision was now officially in place.

For those who don’t know, the Lynnwood office was opened in 2007 to meet the need of Cobalt’s new business with GM. Customer advocates and services were moved from the SoDo headquarters to Lynnwood for the simplest of reasons – Cobalt needed more space!

That era ends today, as the offices are combined once again into the new building, where the Seattle-based associates moved at the end of December.

Welcome to My Cube: Cobaltians  Everywhere Settle In With Funky Flare


Cobaltians of all stripes settling in with a little help from Buzz Lightyear, SpongeBob SquarePants, festive string lights and that breathtaking view of Puget Sound. Pictured: Aimee Soileau (Top Left) Sheri Jackson (Upper Right) Lyndsey Hartje (Lower Right)

In Their Own Words: Lynwooders Sound Off on Their New Digs

Open Communication

Advocate Team Manager Stacey Overturf is really excited about the move, and how much easier communication has become for her and those she works with.  “Last week, when I wanted to talk to someone in Seattle, I usually had to call or email,” she recalled.  “Now I can just walk upstairs and talk to them face to face!”

New Organization

With the new building comes new opportunities to organize people, physically and strategically. In one notable case, the IFS order fulfillment teams are now intermingled with the content services team, a natural merge which gives both teams the chance to play a part as customer orders are built out and handed off to advocates.  Web builders Jeremy Helstrom and Kevin Haller are now literally surrounded by members of the content team, fresh out of Lynnwood.  “It’s a little intimidating!” Jeremy joked.

“The Way It Should Be”

In an email today,  Holt expressed his excitement at having all his employees under one roof.   “I can’t wait to feel the energy,” he said. “I can’t wait to begin on the work we have in front of us to take our customer service, product creation and operations management to the highest levels we’ve ever achieved.  We’re going to do things that this vertical can’t even imagine.”

Many, like Holt, see the move as a natural development in Cobalt’s evolution.  “I know we had to have separate offices for a while,” said Account Advocate Aimee Soileau.  “But this is how we started, with everyone in the same space.  This is the way it should be.”

The Cobalt Group

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