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The automotive advertising landscape in South Africa

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In the midst of South Africa’s technical recession, the automotive industry showed a 2,2% drop in the second quarter of 2018 according to Statistics South Africa. Motor vehicle manufacturers and dealerships, on the other hand, gradually shift their advertising strategies to increase visibility among key audiences by advertising on more channels and increasing engagement across the web. Ornico and Financial Mail will analyse the trends and what they mean, alongside a panel of industry experts at the upcoming Financial Mail AdForum on 12 October 2018.

Automotive Advertising

The ever-increasing fuel price and weaker rand have also added the industry’s challenges. “The quarter-on-quarter drop in retail sales was more severe at 1.7%‚ Investec Bank economist Lara Hodes said in a note” writes Timeslive. The effects have not yet trickled down to the industry’s advertising spend.

Ornico research shows that most brands in the motoring industry, from new to used car dealerships and manufacturers advertise more on print publications than any other medium. Radio carries the second most ads that range from live reads to commercials which include some of the most popular car brands. Further analysis into the automotive industry among many leading publications, including newspapers and magazines, shows an above 20% decline in print advertising from 2017 to 2018.

Comparing advertising spend from 1 June to 31 August in 2017 and the same period in 2018, figures showed an increase in television commercials for most of the leading vehicle brands. Data reveals that in 2017 the automotive sector spent over R328-million on TV ads which increased to over R412-million in 2018. M-Net tops the list of channels with the highest frequency of vehicle ads that appeared on any channel. This is followed by lifestyle and music channels for some of the top brands.

Figure above shows the Top 20 automotive brands by advertising spend from 1 June to 31 August in 2019 and 2019

Figure above shows the Top 20 automotive brands by advertising spend from 1 June to 31 August in 2017 and 2018

Some of the leading themes include short stories that vehicle brands invite their viewers to follow online where these stories are then developed further. This strategy improves immersion and brand engagement, as owned platforms and social media allow for improved targeting and the ability to share interesting stories. Mercedez-Benz with their X-Class bakkie, as well as Ford, are some of the brands that adopted this advertising strategy.

Top 10 TV channels by number of ads and spend from 1 June to 31 August in 2019 and 2019

Top 10 TV channels by number of ads and spend from 1 June to 31 August in 2017 and 2018

Ford increased its advertising on SuperSport Blitz in 2018 with an approach that includes short 3 to 5-second ads and stings that were spread out at various times. The total number of ads flighted on SuperSport Blitz for the automotive sector, as monitored by Ornico, reached 5 817 while Ford accounts for a total of 4 339. The brand took up 75% of automotive advertising from 1 June to 31 August 2018.

Breakdown of top automotive advertisers on SuperSport Blitz from 1 June to 31 August 2018

Breakdown of top automotive advertisers on SuperSport Blitz from 1 June to 31 August 2018

Premium car brands including Porsche and Maserati appear with some of the lowest number of commercials which suggests a more focused approach. Porsche did not have any TV ads flighted between June and August 2018.

Ornico, the Financial Mail and a panel of industry thought leaders will further analyse the creative, communication and advertising trends in the automotive sector on 12 October 2018 at the Houghton Golf Club.

For more information contact Jade Fleishman on (011) 280-3402 or at fleishmanj@tisoblackstar.co.za. Or click here to book your ticket.

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