Let me say right from the start that I am pro-Christmas. The lights, the festivities, the fun. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. As retailers have used Christmas as a reason to open stores on Thanksgiving and stay open 24 hours in December and introduce doorbuster into everyday English, I've wondered to what degree people were actually spending more money.
That brings me to some recent ads I have seen on TV and online from auto manufacturers. For years, Lexus has held a "December to Remember" sales event where it airs television commercials with very lucky individuals receiving a Lexus for Christmas, usually with a giant red bow on the new car parked in the driveway as it snows gently outside.
I hate to be a scrooge, but I've always had a difficult time believing that someone would buy someone else a car, as a Christmas present. Cars cost a lot of money. And if someone is going to spend that much, then it's probably a safe assumption that they are going to want to buy a car with the features and colors that the recipient is going to like best. Someone would have to be really, really nice in my circle to receive a new car as a Christmas present. But looking at Lexus's car sale numbers during the past two Christmas seasons, maybe I had the "December to Remember" all wrong.
According to data I found at www.lexusenthusiast.com, Lexus sold 12,678 vehicles last December, compared with 9,188 in November 2010 and 5,561 in January 2011. The data for December 2009 follows the same pattern. Color me very surprised.
Despite the numbers, a recently released report says that holiday ads for car sales are ineffective, according to an article from Advertising Age.
The tactic is a time-worn strategy of connecting the happiness and warmth of gift-giving with automobiles. Said Peter Daboll, the CEO of Ace Metrix, an advertising evaluation firm that conducted the survey and released the report:
Many automotive brands have stepped away from good creative and fallen back on 'Buy it now, you idiot' messaging wrapped up in sales events and bows.
I'm curious to hear some feedback from members of the site: What are your experiences related to Christmas-themed car sales? Do they move more vehicles? Or are they wastes of time? Do most people buying gifts for a loved one (am I wrong to assume that the car is for a loved one? Seems like someone is over-reaching if they buy a Lexus for the mailman) finance their purchases or pay cash?