Car Firms Prepare to Share

Article excerpt

Car manufacturers could be the first major group to break with tradition and share television advertising space.

The days when major category advertisers were reluctant to share ad breaks with their competitors may be numbered.

Last week, a number of car advertisers expressed a willingness to do away with the voluntary agreement which for years has meant just one car ad per break (Marketing, April 23).

Mike Moran, marketing director at Toyota, certainly believes it's time for change in the TV market - at least as far as car advertisers are concerned.

"I'd have no problem advertising with anyone in the same break. The agreement is very old and it's never really been tested. I'd be happy to try it, if there was another advertiser who felt the same way," he says.

Moran's argument is simple: under the current agreement, ad spots are highly sought after and hard to come by, especially in the run-up to the August registration period. Not only would break sharing free up much valued spots, but it would reduce costs.

Compelling argument

"There could be a compelling argument for doing it, particularly if media inflation continues to be such an issue," says Moran.

Other car advertisers agree. Chris Owens, marketing director at Mazda, says: "The days have gone when exclusivity was a factor. Looking at newspapers and posters, there isn't a strong case for solus TV advertising. Consumers are far more educated now and the pressure will come for change."

Observers believe such arguments may hold water for the car market, because different cars target different audiences - look at the difference between a Ford and a BMW, for example.

Other highly competitive categories such as alcohol, telecoms and financial services have also traditionally adhered to the same 'gentlemen's agreement', despite the fact that, with any other medium, proximity to a competitor is a fact of life. …

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