Car sales are booming. November sales data is in, and it was a great month. 1.32 million vehicles were sold in November, that’s the best since 2001. Among the winners are Nissan (+3.8%), Fiat Chrysler with their best November in 15 years (+3%). GM is experiencing strong demand for their small crossover SUVS. And then there’s VW. Their emissions scandal is costing them dearly. Jetta sales tanked by 30%. Passat sales are off by 60%.

So what is sparking auto sales. Well, there are three reasons that consumers are jumping into new vehicles: low gas prices, low finance rates, and the aging US auto fleet.

But why some brands vs. others? There’s some innovative brand advertising happening in the marketplace. For example, we’re seeing some great media placements coupled with program-specific creative. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) ran this crossbrand commercial in The American Music Awards. The spot featured one song performed by 5 different artists, featuring vehicles from Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram:

FCA is also in deep with Lucasfilm with a global advertising campaign to co-promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Dodge, Chrysler, Ram, Fiat and Jeep each has a 30-second TV spot laced with references to “the force” and other Star-Warisms:

But there’s more that Hollywood tie-ins that’s driving consumers to showrooms. There’s some great brand advertising out there. Ad consultancy Ad Matrix ranks the effectiveness of luxury brand auto advertising. Topping their list this year is Mercedes Benz with an Ace score of 599 (out of 900). Surprising many (not me, they deserve it) is Buick with a score of 593. Buick’s ads are memorable (“That’s not a Buick”), so good they  blew right by Audi, BMW and Lexus who round out the top five. Here’s a spot from that Buick campaign:

In a report issued earlier this year, national ad rep firm Viamedia reports that over 44% of their local cable ad spending is in the automotive category. That includes local dealer advertising, a category that’s also booming. Manufacturers may be creating brand awareness, but well branded dealers are securing market share by driving consumers into their showroom with targeted media buys, great creative, and aggressive pricing.

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