Hyundai cars are seen at a port ready for shipment in the south Indian city of Chennai, in this file picture. Picture: REUTERS
Hyundai cars are seen at a port ready for shipment in the south Indian city of Chennai, in this file picture. Picture: REUTERS

The upcoming Redzone AdForum, in association with Ornico, will shed light on the advertising landscape of SA’s automotive industry, where the benefits of new technologies drive innovation but are also becoming increasingly difficult to explain to consumers.

There’s no argument that in today’s climate of consumers being exceedingly selective in terms of the media and brands they engage with, relevant and valuable content is the only way to grab their fragmented attention.

For this, storytelling is key. And it’s not only about using the right words and pictures, it’s about how these are presented and how the audience perceives them.  But how do vehicle brands shape words and pictures into a context that will resonate with consumers when complex innovations do not easily lend themselves to explanation, competition in the automotive industry is increasing fast and consumers are cash strapped?

Not only is SA in a recession, the automotive industry showed a 2.2% drop in the second quarter of 2018, according to Statistics SA. An ever-increasing fuel price and weaker rand have added to the industry’s challenges. The effects of this drop have not yet trickled down to the industry’s advertising spend.

Against this difficult backdrop, motor vehicle manufacturers and dealerships have gradually shifted their advertising strategies to increase visibility among key audiences by advertising on more channels and increasing engagement across the web.

According to research conducted by Ornico, most brands in the motoring industry, including new- and used-car dealerships and manufacturers, advertise more in print publications than in any other medium. Radio comes a close second, featuring advertising that ranges from live reads to commercials putting the spotlight on some of the country’s most popular car brands. Further analysis of the automotive industry among many leading publications, including newspapers and magazines, shows an above-20% decline in print advertising from 2017 to 2018.

Most leading vehicle brands increased their TV adspend between June and August this year from that spent in the same period last year, says Mongezi Mtati, marketing manager Ornico, explaining that in 2017 the automotive sector spent over R328m on TV ads, which increased to over R412m in 2018. M-Net tops the list of channels with the highest frequency of vehicle ads. This is followed by lifestyle and music channels for some of the top brands, Mtati says.

The big take-out

Redzone, in association with Ornico, will be holding an AdForum session featuring a panel of experts who will be analysing and debating some of the current television, radio and print advertising offered by the automotive sector. 

Ornico’s research showed that the top advertising spenders now are Ford, Hyundai and Kia, followed by Audi, Toyota and Isuzu; with Ford outspending all other brands, including Opel, Nissan, Volkswagen, Fiat, Renault and Mercedes-Benz, by a significant margin.

Leading themes identified in automotive advertising include short stories that viewers are invited by vehicle brands to follow online. On the web these stories are 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. Examples of brands that have adopted this advertising strategy include Mercedes-Benz for its X-Class bakkie, and Ford.  

The FM AdForum, in association with Ornico, will be held at the Houghton Golf Club on 12 October 2018. At the event a unique mix of ad industry experts will be critiquing and debating 10 automotive brand ads from vehicle brands that believe they have mastered the technique of delivering the message while assuring prospective owners that their investment will generate incredible rewards.

Vehicle brands under the spotlight will include Volkswagen, Mini Cooper, Mazda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Subaru, Toyota, Kia Motors and Ford. The panel is made up of talented advertising professionals such as Tian van den Heever, creative director at FCB; Thalia Bruinders, creative art director at Bonfire; Willie Struwig, creative director at Publicis Machine;  and Ornico’s Mtati.

This panel of ad industry experts will debate how leading vehicle brands have managed to deploy a deep understanding of their product and unique technologies in this challenging environment, from the development of the initial concept through to all aspects of execution.

Join us for this must-attend session for those in the automotive marketing sector – or even for people who just like cars!

Ticket price is R343.85, including VAT. Book your seat here. Alternatively, contact Jade on 011-28-3402 or e-mail