Of the slew of automakers sinking millions of ad dollars into NCAA March Madness, Toyota has seen the greatest perception lift with college basketball fans in the US.
The three spots featuring “Coach T” urging college-age students to buy a Camry or Corollas appear to have propelled the Japanese carmaker ahead of a large pack of competitors vying for attention during the ongoing tournament.
General Motors (GM) had the second biggest boost, running TV, print and digital ads promoting two models – the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco and 2012 Buick Verano luxury sedan. GM has gone on the record saying its recent sales-generating Super Bowl experience promoting the Chevy Sonic convinced it to invest in March Madness.
The Chevy ads seem like a hit with college basketball fans as well. Although the brand is not an official partner with the NCAA’s men’s basketball division, the high-mileage, high-tech aspects of the new car have driven Chevy to the third biggest gain during the tournament to date.
Rounding out the top five biggest auto gainers were, in order, Volkswagen and Ford.
All car makers who advertised or were sponsors of the NCAA March Madness tournament were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" For this research, all respondents were filtered to college basketball fans.
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
Toyota registered a commanding 15 point gain in buzz score from the two-week period prior to the tournament to the March Madness period of March 13th through the 26th. GM notched 11 points with the same comparison metrics, followed by a tie between Chevy and Volkswagen (both 8 points), and Ford (6).