In the past, automobile brands have used a testosterone injected formula for all their video marketing. They’ve relied on demonstrating the cars performance and humor to engage viewers. Speed. Sexy. Flashy. But starting at last year’s Super Bowl, there’s been a shift in how auto brands are positioning their video marketing.

The first was Toyota’s “To Be a Dad” which employed a softer side of men.



Suddenly with this ad from Toyota, emotion was brought into automobile video marketing. This ad had more to do about fatherhood and less about how much low end torque the cars had. But it made them memorable because of that.

Now, more and more of these brands are employing emotional storytelling. Take Hyundai for example. “Message to Space” used great storytelling and their cars were but a minor player in the story.



Rather than a high speed drive on a cliff-side road aka product demo, Hyundai used its cars as the “pens” to write a love letter from a daughter to her father.

It’s an interesting shift to note. Part of this shift from gender biased video ads I’m sure is fueled by the fact that 80 percent of car buying decision are now influenced by women. As your demographic changes, so too does the way you communicate with them. I also believe that younger men are less stoic than their dads or grandads were. Gone are the days of “washing it off with a little gasoline” and not crying under any circumstances. More men are realizing they’re human and need to be present both physically AND emotionally as they strive to be better spouses and dads. So I think this new messaging reflects both the demographic change and reflects these gender shifts in society. I think it’s a good thing though as storytelling makes brands far more memorable from every other humdrum car on a highway commercial or the ever bland vehicle braking on ice demonstration ad. I mean, we’ve seen this scene in a commercial a thousand times, right?
gender bias in automotive video marketing

Whether or not this shift from car performance based video marketing to storytelling will lead to more success for auto brands we’ll probably never know. They’re not likely to share sales figures with attribution to specific content they’ve created. That said, if the automotive vertical’s video marketing – normally a testosterone fueled joyride interspersed with humor – is willing to experiment with emotional storytelling, why not you?

Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts