FCA ad blitz pays off in search traffic, but King ad stalls


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Super Bowl ad bonanza paid immediate dividends from coast to coast.

The company ran an unprecedented five spots — three for Jeep and two for Ram — that were tasked with promoting the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, 2019 Jeep Cherokee and 2019 Ram 1500.

The auto roster was down considerably this year, so FCA was able to stay top of mind with viewers for much of the evening. Only six auto brands appeared in the game, down from nine in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, 10 brands ran spots.

“One of the things over the last couple of years we’ve seen is manufacturers really flood the market for Super Bowl. I think not having as much competition gave [FCA] a leg up compared to the other brands out there,” Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing for Cox Automotive’s Media Solutions Group, told Automotive News. She’s responsible for Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Dealer.com.

On Cars.com, Cherokee search traffic jumped 175 percent after its ad ran. The biggest winner for FCA, however, was the Wrangler, which had page visits increase 542 percent on the heels of a Jurassic Park-themed spot and another ad that showed its ability to chew up harsh terrain.

The Wrangler earned broad appeal and became the top vehicle based on site visits in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, Boston and Atlanta.

It was a similar story on KBB.com.

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The Wrangler had the steepest traffic percentage gains among the biggest volume models on Kelley Blue Book. The Wrangler experienced a 424 percent traffic spike in the hour after the “Jurassic Jeep” ad ran. Jeep’s back-to-basics “anti-manifesto” spot earned it a 198 percent lift in the hour after it aired. The numbers compare page views an hour after an ad ran vs. an hour before the game.

The only models topping the Wrangler in that category were the Lexus LS, which had a 2,500 percent bump after its Black Panther spot, and the Kia Stinger, which garnered a 1,963 bounce in traffic in the hour after its ad starring Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler.

“I think the product-specific spots pique interest a little more than the overarching brand spots,” Crowley said.

In comparison, FCA’s Ram 1500 spot featuring a Martin Luther King Jr. voiceover sparked a social media debate, but not much else. The spot didn’t generate any lift on KBB.com vs. the comparison period.

Sprout Social, a social media management platform, revealed that 81 percent of the 48,777 posts shared yesterday about the spot had negative sentiment. Digimind, a social media analytics software company, found that 68 percent of the negative social sentiment around Ram came from men.

The brand has taken a hit and resorted to putting out a statement early Monday from the licensor of King’s estate explaining why the voiceover was approved.

Ram traffic could steadily build if the controversy sticks around.

Crowley said: “We’ll see if anything trails this week. Sometimes after a controversy continues, then people start reading the articles and going and searching.”


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