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Automakers Discuss Benefits of Sports-Related Marketing

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LeBron James going to outer space in newest Kia K900 commercial

Using athletes like LeBron James to promote cars is the best marketing tactic for automakers

Everyone knows that marketing is important. If you want to sell a product, marketing is the way to go about doing it. That’s why it’s important to consider all markets available to you in your industry—and for automakers, it looks like one of the most prominent markets resides in the world of sports.

Top marketing executives from various global carmakers took the time to address marketing strategies during the Automotive News’ annual Marketing Seminar in Los Angeles. Along with discussions on the importance of Generation X buyers, the role of dealers in a brand’s advertising message, and appealing to a multicultural audience, the marketing gurus focused mostly on the benefits of sports advertising.

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It’s no secret that carmakers like to align themselves with athletic endeavors. The Super Bowl is just one sports event that brands pump advertising money into. In fact, the majority of brands in the United States have associated themselves with a sport in some way. For instance, Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and has featured the likes of LeBron James and Blake Griffin in their television commercials. The South Korean carmaker even enlisted the help of Christopher Walken to make a memorable Super Bowl commercial.

Sports are currently one of the only live television programming available consistently in America. It’s because of this—and because of the emotional connection that is associated with sports—that it is the platform for automotive marketing success.

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As Dean Evans, the chief marketing officer of Kia’s sister company Hyundai points out: “There’s not a lot of live television left anymore. There’s not another platform with more fans that are more engaging around a common goal and subject, so I think that’s why a lot of us are taking sports as one of our platforms that helps get the word out.”

It explains the prevalence of car commercials during sporting events, doesn’t it? It’s  more than just appealing to the typically male demographic—it’s taking advantage of the emotions brought to sports and the events’ live platform.

News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)