Daily Insights

Patriots’ Defense Had Nothing on Auto Brands

By: Megan McVay and Mai-Hanh Nguyen | Feb 04, 2019

Last night’s score was the lowest in Super Bowl history, but automakers’ participation in the big game was high as usual. Although only 18% of brands in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto advertised on the big screen during the game, many used digital channels to get in on the action.

Vehicle infotainment systems took the spotlight in many Super Bowl TV commercials. Toyota, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz highlighted their entertainment and connected car capabilities.This theme coincides with a trend Gartner L2 has observed: the growing importance of mobile connectivity in vehicles as a key criterion in the car purchase process. Three out of four brands in the study feature their infotainment platforms on site homepages, and the majority list specs on vehicle pages. Also, car configurators have become a holistic research tool, allowing customers to customize the extent and type of connectivity they want in their cars.


Many brands supplemented their TV investments with coverage on Instagram Stories. Kia and Toyota reposted their ads to Stories; the former included a swipe up to the full commercial on YouTube. Mercedes-Benz’s Story also highlighted its Super Bowl commercial, but incorporated a swipe up to its Twitter page as an invitation for users to “follow the action on Twitter.”

Although Aston Martin did not invest in a TV spot, the brand flaunted its long-standing partnership with Tom Brady by featuring him in several Instagram posts on its Americas account in anticipation of the game. The brand’s video post garnered over 90,000 views, more than its follower base of nearly 82,000, and its other post received nearly four times the account’s average engagement in 2018.