Kelley says Chevy Sonic, Honda CR-V to get big boosts from Super Bowl ads

(January 31, 2012) IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book today reports its predictions for automaker ad supremacy during this year's Super Bowl. On game day Sunday, Kelley Blue Book anticipates that the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic will receive the greatest lift with a nearly 250 percent increase in traffic share on 

The model is relatively new, so it stands to benefit from increased national exposure.  It also competes in the subcompact sedan segment, which is in high demand for its fuel economy and affordability. 

The model to benefit from site traffic well after the Big Game is the 2012 Honda CR-V. The newly redesigned Honda CR-V may not see the largest gains during game time, but will likely reach a higher plateau in consumer research and remain there for an extensive period of time. Based on SUV performances during past games, the CR-V should see a 100 percent markup in traffic from the previous Sunday. 

The CR-V is currently among the top 10 most researched vehicles on, so it doesn't have a high potential for rapid growth.

"The images of the new CR-V have been available for several months, but this affordable model, currently available for purchase, has been high in demand even before the redesign," said Arthur Henry, manager of market intelligence for Kelley Blue Book's  "The national exposure will only further interest in the model, as advertisements that resonate most with consumers are those that are model specific."

During the 2010 and 2011 Super Bowl games, all models that were the focus of the advertisement saw an immediate bump in traffic after airing. Those ads that were brand focused hardly moved the needle for online research.  Last year, the commercial that received the biggest spike during the game was the Chrysler 200, which jumped 1,013 percent in share of traffic. The vehicle that benefitted long-term was the Hyundai Elantra, which moved from the 37th most-researched car to position No. 7.

"In addition to being model focused, commercials with pop culture references tend to outperform other campaigns," said Henry.  "Last year, Volkswagen saw a lot of success with its Star Wars ad and Chrysler also benefited from their 'Imported from Detroit' commercial starring Detroit-native Eminem."

As seen in 2011, brands that feature a game or call to action to go online have a lot of success, such as Kia's "One Epic Contest" from last year. It drew consumers to the brand and largely impacted social channels.  Lastly, the frequency of commercial airings also plays a major role in extending interest in the vehicle.

According to Kelley Blue Book analysts, there are three primary factors that impact online new-car research during the Big Game, including model availability, model age and consumer demand.  Based on past traffic patterns during the Super Bowl, information on the advertised vehicle must be available for consumers to research or interest diminishes. 

Model age also plays a significant role in consumer research during the game.  The longer the given vehicle has been available to the public, the less a model will be researched since consumers are already aware of what it has to offer.  In addition, the amount of vehicle research done is dependent on the segment it competes in.  Historically on, the segments that draw the majority of traffic are non-luxury sedan and SUVs.  These segments account for nearly 75 percent of site traffic.     

For 2012, the Super Bowl is being streamed online as well as broadcasted, making it even easier for consumers to research the advertised models and brands. Manufacturers that advertise during the online stream have the opportunity to garner a tremendous amount of Internet traffic, especially if the ad unit allows consumers to click through to the automaker's site.