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Guts & Glory: RAM Wins Nielsen’s Top Auto Ad Award

3 minute read | April 2014

Automotive advertising has emerged as a class all its own. With auto representing five of the top 10 U.S. ad spenders of 2013, the level of investment speaks for itself. But among these, an elite class of advertisers has accelerated to the top, boasting creative that rivals video programming in terms of quality and ability to entertain and engage viewers. Today, Nielsen announced the winners of its Eighth Annual Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards, and RAM’s “Farmer” was recognized as Automotive Ad of the Year.

Based on the results of Nielsen’s national TV ad effectiveness surveys, the awards consider the ads’ ability to be recalled, to have correct brand association, to have the message or call to action remembered and, of course, to be well liked. The winning TV ad, “Farmer,” sampled Paul Harvey’s 1978 “God Made a Farmer” address to the Future Farmers of America Convention.

With religious connotations and diverse imagery of farmers, fields and families, and highlighting how the work they do is the backbone of America, the ad struck an emotional chord that landed it the top spot in the running for Nielsen’s 2013 Automotive Ad of the Year.

Other big winners included:

  • Best Sales Event Campaign: Toyota “Toyotathon Jackpot”
  • Luxury Campaign of the Year: Buick “Landing”
  • Spanish TV Advertiser of the Year: Ford

“As options grow for consumers to consume content, from the number of TV channels to the variety in video watching platforms, it becomes more and more apparent to advertisers that quality content in ads is key,” said Tom Rivers, Senior Vice President and Account Director for Nielsen’s global automotive unit. “Our finalists and winners took a page from that manual by creating compelling advertisements that were engaging and entertaining enough to contend with actual video content. These ads are successful in their ability to fully integrate into the entertainment experience.”

The Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards, presented at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, are the only awards measuring the effectiveness of automobile TV ads.


Nielsen TV Brand Effect employs a nationally representative online panel of TV viewers who have watched programs within the past 24 hours. These panelists answer survey questions about the programs they watched and the commercials they were exposed to. Since the panelists respond based on what they watched in a natural environment (as opposed to a clinical research environment), the results reflect real-life reaction to and memory of television commercials. Nielsen logs and issues surveys for all national commercials within its coverage dayparts and networks.

For the auto awards, Nielsen Global Automotive leveraged four key metrics:

  • General Recall – Was the ad memorable enough to break through
  • Brand Recall – Did the TV viewer recall whose ad it was?
  • Message Recall – Did the TV viewer recall the primary message in the ad?
  • Likeability – Was the ad appealing (i.e., did the TV viewer like the ad)?

The finalists for the Nielsen Automotive Advertising Awards were determined based on ad performance results from 2013.

Automotive Ad of the Year

Results were specific to adults 18-54 years old. All automotive ads that launched in 2013 were evaluated at similar media weight levels so that media was not the primary driving factor of performance. The ads were evaluated based on ad recall, brand recall and message recall.

Luxury Campaign of the Year

Results were specific to viewers in the luxury demographic: adults 25-54 years old with a household income of $75,000 or above. Ads that were part of the same vehicle or branding campaign were evaluated together. They were evaluated based on combined performance on ad recall, brand recall and likeability.

Spanish-Language TV Advertiser of the Year

Results were specific to viewers in the more general non-luxury target: adults 18-54 years old. Each automotive brand was evaluated based on combined performance of their Spanish-language ads on ad recall, brand recall and likeability.

Best Sales Event Campaign

Results were specific to adults 18-54 years old. Each automotive TV sales event was evaluated based on the combined performance of ad recall, brand recall and message recall, with the results at similar media weight so that media is not the primary driving factor of performance.

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