Automakers Harness Sports Programming With Latest Most-Seen TV Ads

News is providing a budget-friendly option to deliver wide reach.

WAW Staff

May 16, 2024

3 Min Read
Ram used sports, news to collect most viewer impressions among auto TV ads.
Ram used sports, news to collect most viewer impressions among auto TV ads.

With the NBA and NHL playoffs going strong, many automakers are focusing investment on games – but

’s latest ranking of the most-seen auto ads shows that news programming is also providing a cost-efficient channel to reach large audiences. 

Ram Trucks, which racked up 193.6 million national TV ad impressions for “The Calling” from May 6-12 and leads the chart for the second week in a row, employed both strategies. NBA games generated 11 million impressions, followed by Special Report With Bret Baier (7.3 million), while top networks by impressions included MSNBC (17.4 million) and Fox News (16.7 million). 

Dodge, meanwhile, truly zeroed in on news. Its “Inner Child Intervention” ad ran up 161.4 million national TV ad impressions, a full quarter of which came from airings on Fox News (21.1 million impressions) and MSNBC (20.3 million). And although Forensic Files (11.6 million impressions) was the No.1 program overall, the other top five were all news-related. The Dodge commercial had half the estimated outlay of Ram Trucks’ but still ranked No.2 on the week’s chart, suggesting that big-ticket sports placements aren’t always necessary for wide reach. According to iSpot’s Creative Assessment, this spot scored above the automotive industry norm for attention, likeability and information, with viewers reporting “curiosity” as the top emotion after viewing the commercial. 

Of the top five ads for the week, Genesis was the only one that prioritized traditional broadcast networks over cable for impression delivery. “Bring the Wow,” promoting the GV70 and GV80, had 137.5 million national ad impressions, 31.6 million of which came from CBS, followed by NBC (19.5 million), ABC (11.4 million) and Fox (10 million). Looking at programming, PGA Tour golf and Chicago Fire were tied with 11.1 million impressions apiece.

Sports aren’t just showing up in ad placement strategy: Infiniti’s third-place spot features NFL broadcaster Erin Andrews getting a good first impression of the 2024 QX60. Although NHL (12.4 million impressions) and NBA games (5 million) delivered top impression counts, Infiniti also targeted a female demographic, as Hallmark (12.7 million impressions) and Bravo (11 million) were the top two networks by reach. 

Lexus rounds out the ranking with a spot for the RX Hybrid that received 122.3 million national TV ad impressions. Sports dominated for program impressions, led by NBA games (6.6 million) and SportsCenter (5.8 million). ESPN was the top network with 19 million impressions, followed by Motor Trend Network (7.7 million). Per iSpot’s Creative Assessment, this spot had an overall Persuasion score 8% above industry norms. Additionally, it had a 91% brand match (the percentage of survey respondents who remembered it was a Lexus ad after watching it), above the recent automotive industry norm of 76%. 

(Click on blue links for videos) 

1. Ram Trucks: The Calling 

Impressions: 193,628,277 

Interruption Rate: 3.68%

Attention Index: 90

Est. TV Spend: $1,348,767 

2. Dodge: Inner Child Intervention 

Impressions: 161,359,562 

Interruption Rate: 2.97%

Attention Index: 89

Est. TV Spend: $668,122 

3. Genesis: Bring the Wow: GV70 and GV80

Impressions: 137,548,419 

Interruption Rate: 2.09%

Attention Index: 103

Est. TV Spend: $1,415,539 

4. Infiniti: First Impression

Impressions: 127,142,698 

Interruption Rate: 1.79%

Attention Index: 101

Est. TV Spend: $713,830 

5. Lexus: Paradox 

Impressions: 122,305,533 

Interruption Rate: 1.65%

Attention Index: 91

Est. TV Spend: $517,117 

Data provided by

, The New Standard for TV Ad Measurement

TV Impressions - Total TV ad impressions delivered for the brand or spot.

Interruption Rate - The percentage of devices that were present at the beginning of the ad but did not complete watching the ad. Actions that interrupt ad play include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV. The Interruption Rate is measured on a scale of 0 to 100%.

Attention Index - A comparison of the ad’s Interruption rate against its specific media placement. The Attention Index is measured on a scale of 0 to 200, where 100 is the average and means the ad is performing as expected.

Est. National TV Spend - Amount spent on TV airings for the brand’s spots.

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