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Automotive is a major advertising sector, highly consolidated among a small number of international car brands. Auto advertising can be either model-specific (particularly when there is a new model to promote), or at a brand level. Key trends in the industry include the shift toward more eco-friendly models and the rise of the ‘connected’ car. Trends to watch out for include the rise of ‘driverless’ cars.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the WARC database

This multi-paper feature looks at the different ways that automobiles are marketed and how the sector needs to adapt. From eco-friendly engines to digital connectivity, technology is changing what consumers demand and expect from a vehicle.
Four consumer profiles for people buying cars based on different mixes of research and buying patterns.
An explanation of why the traditional car-buying purchase funnel used by many marketers is flawed.
Andy Nairn explores the success of automotive ads by analysing a range of winning IPA case studies.

Case Study

This case study details how Shell, an oil and gas company, encouraged loyalty to its brand in the United Kingdom to help increase growth.

Case Study

This case study examines how Renault, an automobile company, advertised the launch of its new model Megane through mobile marketing in the United Kingdom.

Case Study

This case study describes how Renault, the car maker, launched a new 4x4 model into a highly competitive market in the UK using a targeted CRM programme.

Case Study

This case study describes how Peugeot, an automotive company, sold cars to under-25s by appealing to both them and their parents to purchase its Just Add Fuel finance.

Case Study

This case study reveals how a video of a dog parking a car became car maker Vauxhall's most successful social campaign ever in the UK.

Case Study

This case study describes how car manufacturer Nissan used behavioural trends, and attitudinal attributes of the audience's engagement via visual and video content to launch its GT-R marque in India.
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This case study describes how car manufacturer Toyota brought emergency communications to the 5.3 million square kilometres of Australia's landmass that currently receives no mobile signal, by installing signal-providing devices in its LandCruiser models.


This article examines what has changed in the car industry as the advent of leasing and renting deals has made consumers less attached to their cars, and technology has shifted focus from mechanics to in-car experiences.


This article explains how predictive metrics can identify the changing ideals that consumers expect from their car and its high-contribution values, allowing marketers to gain a head start in the race for brand engagement.


This article introduces a series of papers on marketing automobiles: the different ways that automobiles are marketed and how this will change in the future.


This article presents advances in 3D, VR and AR technologies that are providing auto marketers with powerful experiential tools capable of generating deeper and more intuitive insights which can better engage consumers emotionally.


This article outlines how electric vehicle brands such as Nissan and Toyota are raising the game in automotive advertising, using new technologies and innovative approaches.
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  1. Article

    This event report explores the position of print and digital media in influencing customers' car buying decisions, according to Auto-Trader, the used-car magazine.

  2. Article

    This event report looks at the current developments in cars, as the industry undergoes massive change in which the fuel becomes electricity, the isolated box becomes connected, and sharing overtakes ownership.

  3. Article

    This case study describes how Volvo, a car brand in the UK, partnered with a paint company to create an innovative reflective paint to provide safety to cyclists, to make safety – and by extension Volvo – exciting again.

  4. Article

    Although various types of price promotion are used to increase sales, they negatively may affect consumers' perceptions of a premium-product brand.
  5. Article

    This case study describes how Swedish company Volvo Trucks set out to maximise awareness of its new range of trucks.

  6. Article

    This article draws on a new study to explain how cars are really purchased and illustrate the flaws in the dominant funnel purchase model.

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