Domestic OEMs Ford and GM bet on the excitement of the NCAA Basketball Championships to drive auto shopper interest in their brands. Dataium analyzed online shopping intensity for these brands before, during and after the tournament to determine the impact of their sponsorship campaigns on auto shopping.
Our research showed that shopping intensity around Chrysler was highest of all the domestic brands before and during the tournament. However, Lincoln saw the most gains in shopper interest, rising 9% during the three week event.
Lincoln’s increase in ASI during the NCAA tournament is similar to the brand’s performance during the 2013 Super Bowl. Dataium’s Super Bowl analysis found that Lincoln experienced major ASI gains after their $8 million Super Bowl spots, including the “Phoenix” campaign for the Lincoln MKZ. The MKZ saw a 180% ASI increase after the Super Bowl, which ultimately predicted Lincoln’s 21% increase in sales in April. Sales of the Lincoln MKZ crossed the 4,000 vehicle mark for the first time in the model’s history.
Ford saw the largest upset during the NCAA tournament. Ford was on pace with Chrysler during the beginning of the tournament, but lost momentum after the semifinals and fell behind both Chrysler and Lincoln. Buick, who launched the Encore crossover during the event, saw the most stable performance. The brand posted modest shopping intensity gains throughout the tournament.
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