Aaron DiManna
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Buick Had the Most-Watched Car Commercial of 2019

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2020 Buick Regal Sportback
Photo: Buick

2019 saw a long parade of car commercials roll out, all vying for your screen time. According to WardsAuto and iSpot.tv, the most-watched commercial of 2019 — and winner of the advertising game with 5.7 billion TV impressions — was General Motors’s “Mistaken Identity” ad highlighting the Buick Regal.

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The thirty-second TV spot features several instances of people mistaking boring, generic cars for Buicks before realizing that the more exciting model next to it is, in fact, the Buick they were looking for. It highlights the carmaker’s sporty options, versatile SUVs, and luxurious offerings in equal measure.

Impressively, Buick didn’t have to break the bank to have the most-viewed car commercial of 2019. It spent $31.7 million to spread the video around. That might sound like a lot of money until you realize that the biggest ad spend of the year was $60.4 million. That’s what GMC shelled out to air its “Anthem” commercial for the Sierra. While it played during highly-coveted programs like the Wild Card NFL games in early 2019, the audience wasn’t large enough to topple Buick.

All in all, car manufacturers spent nearly five billion dollars on commercials in 2019, making the automotive industry the market leader for expenses and impact. The commercials brought in a combined 416.3 billion impressions on TV alone last year.

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It speaks to the effectiveness of Buick’s brand reinvention that they spent roughly half of GMC’s air time budget on “Mistaken Identity” and managed to generate considerably more impressions. Maybe the sibling brands will help each other out in 2020.