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Auto ads super-charged

Brand scores get a boost for Audi and Hyundai in an effectiveness benchmarking study of their recent newspaper advertisements, writes Tanya Shinn. Introduction The car market is on track for another bumper year after sales jumped 3.4 per cent for the first half of 2016. That’s on the back of a record-breaking 1.2 million sales...

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Brand scores get a boost for Audi and Hyundai in an effectiveness benchmarking study of their recent newspaper advertisements, writes Tanya Shinn.



The car market is on track for another bumper year after sales jumped 3.4 per cent for the first half of 2016. That’s on the back of a record-breaking 1.2 million sales in 2015.1

With the market so hot, marketers have continued to capitalise on the positive sentiment in the economy.

Newspaper advertising continues to play a key role in maintaining an upward sales trend, as results from the NewsMediaWorks’ ad effective study, ADvance, illustrate.

We tested ads for Audi and Hyundai to gauge their impact on brand metrics and reveal the actions of prospective buyers after they saw them.

Audi execution


Audi took a visual approach for its A4 model and featured an attention-grabbing depiction of a person wearing a personal head-up display. The imagery is set against a dark background, with a stylised image of the A4’s dash-board and navigation system in the lower forefront.

The headline is punchy with minimal copy and small text in the top right had corner pointing to the brand’s website.

Hyundai execution


Hyundai promotes a local offer by a West Australian dealer. The ad includes price and images of five models. The headline dominates to stress a local community connection and there is a specific call-to-action to ring or go to a website for more information.

Supporting the image are logos of local community initiatives supported by the brand and icons highlighting brand features.

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by NewsMediaWorks, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.


The Audi creative performed exceptionally well at driving brand affinity and reappraisal. One in four respondents said the ad encouraged them to think differently about brand, while one in five said it gave them a positive feeling towards Audi.

The creative was not as successful across other strategic roles. Some felt the ad didn’t sell the benefits of the product. “It looked very good but I have no idea what features you’re selling,” said one.

The Hyundai creative performed best in ‘Extension’, supporting the wide-scale TV campaign the brand had in market. (To learn more about Extension, click here). It also scored well in terms of promoting brand affinity, with one in seven saying it gave them a good feeling.


Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.


Both advertisements encouraged a range of desirable consumer actions.

The Audi ad increased web-search, encouraging 20 per cent to seek further information. One respondent said: “It’s futuristic, very different to other ads, (and) makes you want to learn more”

Some 18 per cent said they would try to remember the ad for later while one in seven respondents (14%) said they would mention the Audi ad to family or friends.

The Hyundai ad performed where it mattered – winning customers. One in 10 said they would consider buying or trying a Hyundai and a further 15 per cent said they would visit a dealership.

Brand Perceptions


Both ads scored above the norm in lifting brand perceptions. Some 38 per cent of respondents agreed the Hyundai ad was “brand appropriate” – 13 per cent more than the average print ad score.

The Audi ad performed particularly well in helping the brand to stand out within the auto market.

Some 47 per cent of respondents said they thought the Audi ad made the brand seem different from its competitors, 22 per cent above the print ad norm.

Creative Diagnostics

This NewsMediaWorks’ proprietary newspaper metric, provides a set of creative diagnostics unique to the attributes of newspaper advertising.  They’ve been developed to help identify areas for improvement where results across other brand and advertising measures may require further analysis and interrogation.


The Audi ad scored well across a range of measures in terms of aesthetics. Some 38 per cent of said the ad had good visual appeal, 36 per cent said it had a great image, and 33 per cent said it caught their eye.

The ad also scored well for its originality and memorability. One in four said they thought the ad was “clever” while 24 per cent believed it would attract attention and be remembered by others.

Some felt the branding message was too subtle. Only 17 per cent of respondents agreed the ad was easy to read. This is 15 per cent below the average print ad score.

The Hyundai ad excelled at presenting a clear offer, with 44 per cent saying they felt it made it easy to see what was on offer. However, 39 per cent felt it was too similar to others in the category. “It’s a bit conventional,” said one.



Audi’s clever concept and striking imagery caught readers’ attention and helped the brand stand out from competitors. The visual appeal and lack of copy stimulated curiosity, prompting one in four to visit the website. Respondents found the campaign memorable with many remarking it was a refreshing change from other ads in the category.


Hyundai continues to produce effective call-to-action focused print ads. Readers warmed to the clear, uncluttered, brand appropriate creative, which highlighted its charitable work in the local community. The ad supported the brand’s TV campaign, which added extra information around price and local dealership offerings. It encouraged desirable consumer actions, persuading prospects to visit their local dealership.



  1. Australia’s New Vehicle Market, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – http://www.fcai.com.au/sales
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