BMW and Mercedes Benz Cars: TV Advertising Strategies

Subject: Marketing
Pages: 29
Words: 7988
Reading time:
32 min
Study level: Undergraduate

Introduction

Background

The automobile industry has attracted many players. Many multinational companies are competing for the increasing market. Therefore, the market is very competitive, with different classes of vehicles having their own competition. The luxury car sector is one that has high competition. The major players include Mercedes and BMW. The key players in the automobile industry including the two companies are currently dealing with high production and development costs together with a market that is maturing in all sections of the world.

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The main mature automotive markets are the European and North American bazaars, which have provided a significant challenge to the car manufacturers as they try to maintain a hold on the markets (American Marketing Association 2013 Fact Book 2013; Ngo & O’Cass 2012). The automobile companies are described as being in constant change to adapt to the changing business environments while maintaining or improving profitability. Due to the high competition in the various categories of cars, the marketing strategies adopted are similar in many ways for the different companies.

Among the top producers of luxury cars in the world are BMW and Mercedes Benz. These producers have a significantly large market share of this sector. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) is a leading car manufacturer in Germany. It is known world over for the production of premium cars (Sawyers 2003). Most analysts describe BMW cars as being distinctive in design, luxurious, and of good quality (Sawyers 2003). The company is among the market leaders. It has continued to outperform many of the competitors financially, thus retaining a consistent market share (Mintz & Currim 2013).

Mercedes Benz is another German automobile maker that has specialised in the production of different classes and types of automobiles. The different types of vehicles that Mercedes manufactures include luxury cars, which constitute a significantly large market share. The company is known for class and the aspect of luxury, with many individuals buying the brands for the lavish value. The company has also experienced competition from the different luxury carmakers. This situation has led to the development of a marketing policy that is aimed at increasing its competitiveness.

Both of the companies have used advertising as a competition platform. One of the most common forms of competition in advertising is the television advertisement. BMW and Mercedes Benz have constantly developed television commercials that are aimed at countering their competitors’ commercials. The other form of advertising platform that the two companies have applied is print media. Dozens of adverts for the respective companies portray them as the preferred luxury carmakers. This dissertation makes a comparative analysis of the television advertising for BMW and Mercedes Benz cars.

Company History

The two companies have a long history of competition. The developments in the luxury car segment have only intensified this competition. They have also used television advertising for a long period. This section looks at their history and background.

BMW

BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) was founded in 1916 as Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG, only for it to become a stock corporation two years later (Sawyers 2003). However, the company has been stated as coming into being in 1917, although public trading started in 1969 (Sawyers 2003). The company started making cars after purchasing the automaker Eisenach. The 70s saw the initiation of a programme to make cars that form today’s models. There were improvements in sales for the company in the 70s, with the 5-series model being among the initial investments (Sawyers 2003).

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The company also participated in racing in the 70s, when victories were recorded with the 2002 Turbo (Sawyers 2003). The 2002 Turbo, which was produced for the regular customers, was a hit with the car enthusiasts. Its sales led to the increase in profitability of the company (Sawyers 2003). The M-model that the company introduced has been a classic, with many customers ordering it (Sawyers 2003). The company also started its international expansion journey, thus opening branches in North America, South Africa, and many parts of Europe (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997).

The main competitor for the BMW has always been Mercedes Benz. The building of a factory in South Carolina in 1994 saw the sales of the company exceed those made by Mercedes (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997). The company also undertook the purchase of other car manufacturers, including Rover. However, the acquisition was plagued by losses and hence the sale of Rover in 2000 (Sawyers 2003). The company got into direct competition with Mercedes Benz after it introduced its own version of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV), with the original model being the X5 (Sawyers 2003). The marketing campaigns that the company utilised include featuring of its cars in some famous movies such as “Tomorrow Never Dies” that featured James Bond in the roadster Z8 that was a handmade model by the company (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997).

Today, the company produces higher-end sporty motorcycles and cars. The use of technology has allowed BMW to manufacture the first passenger hydrogen driven car, which is available for use, despite the limited refuelling areas (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997). Rolls Royce is another division and brand name of BMW, which specialises in the production of aircraft engines. The company also has subsidiaries worldwide, including manufacturing plants in the USA, the UK, the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico, Malaysia, South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Austria, and Vietnam (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997). The other subsidiaries that the company operates include a financing company, which offers financing for various types of vehicles (Sawyers 2003). The proportions of revenue from the different company components include 78% for automobiles, 18% of revenues for vehicle finance, leasing motorcycles at 3%, and 1% others (Sawyers 2003).

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes is a German carmaker that is associated with the manufacture of luxury automobiles. The company is regarded as among the first automobile companies. The name initially came into the industry in 1926 under the mother company Daimler-Benz (Chen, Nguyen & Klaus 2013). However, the company is associated with the first car that was powered by petrol in 1886 (Chen, Nguyen & Klaus 2013). Berha Benz is known to have financed the first project, with the first of the products being called the Benz Patent Motorwagen (Canada 2013). However, marketing of Mercedes automobile was not done until 1901 under the steer of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (Chen, Nguyen & Klaus 2013).

The following decades were important to the history of the company. The rise of the Nazi regime in Germany influenced the company’s development. In the 30s, there was significant growth, with the then Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, being a major fanatic of the model 770 that the company was making at the time (Canada 2013). The company continued in its success over the last few decades, producing quality cars. It is also known for its luxury vehicles as one of the oldest companies that are still in operation (Canada 2013). Mercedes also acquired some of the other car manufacturers in other parts of the world, with Chrysler being the best example.

Daimler Chrsler is the mother company of Mercedes Benz. It was formed after the acquisition of Chrysler. The company is reported to make a large number of sales, in relation to those made by its main competitor BMW. The number of sales made in 2000 alone was1155000 vehicles, with revenue of over £40 billion (Chen, Nguyen & Klaus 2013). The company has an established global presence, as the main advantage over its main competitors. There are many manufacturing and assembly plants located in different parts of the world. These plants have allowed it to extend its reach to the far distant markets. The other strengths that Mercedes Benz possesses over the competitors include strong leadership, a strong brand name, global presence, and efficient use of technology.

Compared to her competitors in different segments, Mercedes Benz has traditionally operated low-key marketing campaigns (Canada 2013). However, it has embarked on a wide scale use of the internet in marketing. Television marketing remains one of the main ways it uses to do its advertising. The television advertising campaigns include commercials, short movies, and documentaries of its latest products.

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Purpose

The main purpose of this thesis is to make a comparative analysis of the television advertising for BMW and Mercedes Benz cars. The thesis takes a comparison route between the two leading luxury car manufacturers by making an analysis of the individual company’s application of television advertising. The television advertising for both of companies is compared in an effort of exposing any differences and similarities. These companies are in constant competition. Hence, the influence of advertising between them will be discussed. The thesis looks at the factors that are important in the success of television advertising in the presence of strong competition. The two main topics under discussion culminated from the main problems in the thesis:

  • How has television advertising been important in the in the setting of competitive position in BMW and Mercedes Benz?
  • What are the likely effects that the television advertising has had on the markets of the two luxury carmakers?

Delimitation and Assumptions

The purpose of the thesis is confined to analysis of the television advertising practices of both BMW and Mercedes Benz. Therefore, the information that is used includes the television commercials that the two companies have put up in the past. The companies’ history is also provided, with their annual reports and financial records being analysed for the proportion of revenue that is spent on advertising in general, and in television advertising in particular. The main assumption that the thesis is based on is that BMW and Mercedes Benz are close competitors and that the two are the most successful carmakers in the various categories, especially the luxury vehicles.

Hypotheses

  • BMW and Mercedes Benz have run successful advertising campaigns and have put optimum use of television advertising.
  • The television adverts that BMW and Mercedes have developed in the past are aimed at competing with each other’s adverts.
  • The two companies make models that are almost similar in the different categories and that television adverts are their main way of trying to present each model as the better one.
  • BMW and Mercedes Benz’s competition in television advertising will continue to dominate the television screens.

General Thesis Outline

The organization of a thesis is important, as it makes it easy to understand a well-organised work. This thesis is organised into five chapters, with each of the chapters having an independent content from the previous one. The first chapter is the introduction, which gives the background on the thesis, the history of the two companies under discussion and the purpose, delimitation, assumptions, and hypothesis of the thesis. The second chapter is the literature review that details the findings of the previous studies on the two companies, television advertising, and competition in advertising. The review also provides the important information on some of the other competitors that have engaged on the use of television advertising as a platform for their competition.

Chapter 3 presents the methodology that was applied in the thesis. The data sources are provided, along with the main respondents. The methodology is mainly built on the use of primary sources of information. This method was found to be effective for this particular study. The fourth chapter provides the data analysis methods, results, and presentation. The information gathered in the methodology section is analysed to present results that can be used to make conclusions. The results of the data analysis are then synthesised into the conclusions that are provided in the last chapter.

Literature Review

This chapter provides the findings of different studies on the marketing strategies of the two companies. It also provides the relevant theories in advertisement, in line with the conceptual framework of the thesis.

Marketing and Advertising

Advertising is an important concept in marketing. It ensures that customers are aware of the organization and the goods or services that it offers (Ann, Jin & Park 2014). Alvin Silk (2006) defines marketing as those activities that an organization must do to ensure that it creates and exchanges values between it and customers. John Shaughnessy (1995, p. 4) also defines marketing as the activities that establish a relationship between an organization and the outside world, which influences how the organization approaches all players.

International marketing is an important concept for any organization. This marketing may take many forms. One of the oldest forms of marketing is through print media advertising. The products that an organization makes are for particular classes of people, and hence the reason why the different applications in marketing depend on these classes (McCabe, Stern & Dacko 2012; Micu & Plummer 2010). Television advertising is a relatively new form of advertising that has mostly been applied with success. The automobile industry is one of the greatest users of television advertising, with BMW and Mercedes Benz being among the major players (Ewing 2013). The advertisements are known to attract different customers, with some of them being sources of controversy. The efficacy of any form of advertising can be measured through the number of accessible prospective buyers.

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Buyer Behaviour and Television Advertising

Buyer behaviour has been the subject of many studies in the past. Different findings relate to these habits. The selection of a particular product in the market is based on a particular form of behaviour that is displayed by the customer (Anghelcev 2013; LaPointe 2013). The decision making process for customers is studied by marketers to establish the best methods of advertising and marketing. Culture constitutes one of the most important determinants of the buyers’ behaviour. The marketing strategies of organizations are influenced by the culture of the targeted people (Harvey 2012).

In the television-advertising segment, the consumer behaviour is an important influence, with many television adverts displaying the cultures of the particular target groups. Television marketing has also led to the influence of large demographic populations, with the most successful of them leading to the better performance of the organizations. The buyers’ behaviour is also influenced by other factors such as the prices, the classes of products or services, and the utility of the products (Jin & Lutz 2013).

Buyer Decision-Making Process

The customers to a particular organization can be described as generally belonging to two groups. Lee and Johnson (1999) stated that the two main groups of customers are the organizations and the individual customers. The individual customers are those that buy products for their own personal use. They can be classified into individual households and individuals (Dennis & Gray 2013). The organizations may include the manufacturers, retailers, and non-profit organizations (Oyedele & Minor 2012). The decision-making process for customers is widely studied, with many researchers devoting themselves into describing this process (Shaughnessy 1995, p. 4).

The first stage of the decision process is the need recognition, which is the stage at which the organization that is willing to market its products recognises the needs of individual customers or organizations (Lee & Johnson1999). This stage is necessary because the adverts that need to be developed have to focus on the particular needs of the target population (Lee & Johnson 1999). They should clearly depict the products as having the capability of satisfying the needs of the target audience (Mowen 1988; Jobber & Ellis-Chadwick 2013). The second stage is the information search (Lee &Johnson 1999).

In the information search stage, customers usually search the relevant information regarding the product that is being advertised. The customers usually start by relating the product to some of the other similar products that they have used in the past (Heath, Nairn & Bottomley 2009). The sources of information include friends, relatives, the internet, and the other forms of media. The advertisements in the automobile industry are recognised as being significant influence on the nature of information-seeking behaviour that is displayed by customers. The television adverts are also recognised sources of influencing the search of information on particular aspects of a product since they help the organizations to focus on a particular unique aspect about the product (Laran & Tsiros 2013).

After the seeking of information, the next step in the decision-making process for customers is the evaluation of alternatives (Lee &Johnson 1999). Some of the factors that customers will evaluate in relation to the product include the prices, quality, and durability (Goldfarb & Tucker 2011; Reinartz & Saffert 2013). According to Pergelova and Angulo-Ruis (2013), buyers use emotional as well as rational approaches to get the terms in decision-making. The alternatives are evaluated based on the above factors. The next step in the decision-making process is where customers decide to purchase the products (Lee &Johnson 1999). The decision to purchase a product is influenced by the results of the alternative analysis that the customers usually perform prior to this step. The winning company is the one that can manage to influence the decision-making of the customer in the evaluation of alternatives (Perobelli, Haddad, Bastos & Pimentel 2006; Romaniuk 2012; Romaniuk 2013). However, before the purchase, the customers usually engage in the process of establishing the place where the product is available, the size, price, and/or whether they require the product. According to Rosengren, Dahlén, and Modig (2013), a good advertisement should contain answers to some of these questions that customers ask themselves.

After the clients have purchased a product, they are also potential secondary consumers who might need to purchase another commodity of the same type or a complementary one. The next stage after purchase, according to Lee and Johnson (1999), is the post purchase evaluation. In this stage, the buyers have the product in their procession. They begin by evaluating it in terms of the features present in line with those that were advertised (Engelen & Brettel 2011). They can like the product after this evaluation, or end up disliking it. If the customers dislike the product, they may embark on cognitive dissonance where they try to convince themselves that the product in their procession is good despite disliking it (Engelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013). According to Taylor (2013), this occurs for large ticket items. Advertising is recognised as the best way of influencing the buyer decision-making process. Among the most informative advertising forms is television advertising.

Television Advertising

Television advertising has been the preferred method of advertising for many types of companies over the last century. As a result, billions of dollars are spent in this industry every year (Rosengren & Dahlén 2013). The entry of new types of marketing and different platforms such as the internet has offered significant competition to television advertising. However, it remains a viable way of communicating the products and services to current and potential clients (Lee & Johnson 1999). The automobile industry is one of the largest consumers of television advertising, with billions of dollars being invested each year by the industry. The company sizes have affected the size of investment in this form of advertising.

According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies Commercial Production Costs Survey, the average cost of a television commercial lasting about 30 seconds costs $389,000 (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013). However, this value is for an automobile commercial that is hosted on the national television. The number of people that watch television is significantly large. The commercials are mainly brought in between the programming. The positioning of commercials is also important. Commercials that are placed between programmes that are largely watched by the target audience are described as being efficient in the promotion of the products (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013).

The bulk of revenue in the television industry is mainly from advertising. This claim reveals the high priority that such revenue gives to advertising. The positioning of a particular commercial is important in influencing buyers’ attitude and their decision-making (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013). When commercials are placed between programmes, they should be of different types to ensure that customers can be influenced in the decision-making process. Some commercials between programmes depict the differences between two related products. This issue may be a negative influence of ether products. In some of the television stations, a commercial for one model of a car may be followed by another commercial of a similar model but by a different company. The audience may compare the two and decide on the company to buy from based on the commercials (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013). Therefore, it is important that the car manufacturers make quality television commercials to ensure that they outperform their direct competitors (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013).

Television Advertising and the Automobile Industry

The automobile industry is one of the most competitive in the world, with many players engaging in stiff competition in the manufacture of the different brands (Levy 2012; Wind, Sharp & Nelson-Field 2013). The most competitive of the car markets is the United States. There are numerous avenues of competition between the main industry players (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013). The car companies are also said to be spending more money on advertising than any other industry. In the United States alone, the annual cost of advertising for these companies is 18.4 billion dollars (Gelen, Lackhoff & Schmidt 2013). Television viewers are subjected to many television commercials every night. According to Arrazola, de Hevia, Reinares, and Reinares Lara (2013, these commercials may be more than a dozen in a night. Besides, they may be back-to-back in some days.

BMW and TV Advertising

Some of the companies that have smaller market shares may be disadvantaged from the commercials. It is easy for them to get lost in the advertisement fray (Arrazola et al. 2013). According to Michaela, Bohner, and Jurkowitsch (1997), BMW is one of the smaller companies in the automobile industry, with a US market share of less than 2% and a European share of about 5%. The carmaker sold slightly over 54,000 vehicles in North America in 1992. It has been improving in sales with over 266,000 vehicles being sold in 2005 (Sawyers 2003). It currently sells more than 400,000 vehicles annually in the North American market.

The advertising budget that BMW has is only 1% of the total amount that is spent by all players in the automobile industry (Sawyers 2003). Despite the low proportion of advertising financing, BMW has traditionally been known for the commercials that it makes that are appealing to clients. It also puts in measures that are aimed at increasing sales such as discounts for the employees. Another strategy that the company is known for is the manufacture of premium vehicles. It emphasises quality as opposed to volume (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997). By choosing to use this path, BMW goes head to head with other premium carmakers such as Mercedes Benz and Toyota under the brand name Lexus (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997).

BMW has often had campaign themes in advertising, with one of the best-known campaign being the “Ultimate Driving Machine” campaign (Michaela, Bohner & Jurkowitsch 1997). The campaign has been used for decades for by the car enthusiasts, with this driving the sales for the same period. The dawn of 2010 saw the introduction of another campaign, although it was not intended to replace the existing campaign (Sawyers 2003). The new campaign “Story of Joy” was popularised through television adverts. The intention was to attract more customers that are not necessarily car enthusiast. However, according to Sawyers (2003), they love living their life.

The campaigns have always been launched on the traditional media such as television. They are accredited with the increase in the number of sales for the company. BMW uses television advertising to influence customers. For any new product, there is often a short film created to air on television (Taylor et al., 2013). Some of the research findings indicate that BMW makes significant amounts of revenue after a marketing campaign is launched. The television marketing that it employs is a big contributor (Varan et al. 2013). The largest amount of advertising finances spent by the company is also on television advertising as opposed to other forms of advertising.

Mercedes Benz and TV Advertising

The category of cars that BMW and Mercedes Benz make is mainly for a particular class of drivers. This class of customers requires a strong brand name as opposed to performance of the individual cars (Jayasinghe & Ritson 2013). The main use of advertising for companies is to nurture the premium image while ensuring that clients can differentiate the performance aspects of the different vehicles (Quinlan 2014). The average budget for launching a new model into the United States market is $40 million. Both BMW and Mercedes have often invested most of this money in the television commercial advertising.

Mercedes Benz has been a leader in the use of television marketing in the automobile industry. The theme that it applies includes luxury and performance (Tuttle 2013a). The company uses a number of commercials in prime time advertising. These commercials have a common concept of portraying the company as one that is devoted to luxury and performance. Mercedes spends more than a million dollars on advertising in Germany alone. It spent over a billion dollars over the last decade in the development of television commercials (Badot & Cova 2008). The company has set up a tradition in television advertising. The models that are advertised are mainly the newer models.

The company also develops short films that are aired on national televisions, especially depicting the new brands as being improvements for the older models. Several themes are used. In the financial surveys that the company conducts, an average increase in sales of 4.1% can be attributed to the sale of models advertised on television (Tuttle 2013b). Currently, television marketing is only second to the internet for Mercedes Benz (Tuttle 2013b). A combination of the two forms of marketing is more successful than the use of one method of advertising (Kurt & Hulland 2013; Leonidou, Palihawadana & Theodosiou 2011).

Research Methodology

This chapter outlines the choice of methods that were used in the thesis and the reason for the selection of these methods. The methods used in data collection were also analysed in this chapter. The choice of methodology constitutes a significant influence on the strength of conclusions that researchers make. Good results are obtained where the most appropriate methods are used. Research can either be based on primary sources of information such as interviews, surveys, and experiments, which provide reliable results. Researchers can also apply secondary sources in their research. These forms of work include the use of research findings by other researchers to make the relevant conclusions. This thesis used primary data collection methods. It also applied interviews to evaluate the TV advertising strategies that are used by BMW and Mercedes Benz.

Choice of Study

The analysis of the strategies used in advertising can be done using results obtained from a literature survey, or from an actual survey conducted on individuals, companies, or the public. The choice of study is influenced by factors such as the subject under study, the available time, and the available financial resources (Swaminathan & Kent 2013). In this particular study, the use of interviews to collect information on the television advertising practices for BMW and Mercedes Benz was applied. Case studies are among the most important studies to carry out in the determination of relationship between two factors. However, primary sources are far stronger in the provision of the actual prevailing environments.

Advertising is an industry that is under constant change. The information sought in this research can only be accurately gotten through primary research. As opposed to other methods of research, interviews allow the acquisition of useful information to the researcher while enabling accurate conclusion making (Coffey 2013). The application of primary sources in the investigation of the relationship between BMW’s television advertising and Mercedes Benz was more reliable than secondary sources of data.

Data Collection

The process of data collection as stated earlier can take two forms, with these being primary collection and secondary selection. This research mainly applies primary data collection as described in the section below.

Primary Data

The research required the analysis of information collected from primary sources. The two companies whose television advertising is under focus, BMW and Mercedes, are particularly appealing to a special class of people. Any participants in the study should have the characteristics of this group. The information gathered from these respondents will reflect the views of the public, especially the group that is targeted by the television media campaigns for the two companies. The targeted group in the television adverts has special characteristics as described below.

Target Group

Different generations of markets have been described over the last century and decades. They include the baby boomers, generation X, and the dot-com generation (Beard 2013). The baby boomers generation was one of the dominant generations in the past decade. This generation contributed significantly to the thinking along that period (Jones, Suoranta & Rowley 2013). Traditional values held by this generation are increasingly becoming invalid, as the newer generations of individuals take over from them. These generations are increasingly becoming more concerned over fewer things. They are less involved in responsibilities.

Currently, the generation that has control over the resources is the baby boomers. However, the generation X is also increasingly taking charge of the business and social environments. Generation X members are starting businesses at a faster rate in relation to their previous counterparts. The generation is largely attributed with investments (Jones, Suoranta & Rowley 2013). They currently constitute a large market for the products offered by various companies, including BMW and Mercedes (Jones, Suoranta & Rowley 2013). With the growth of generation X, the dot-com generation that is now in their 20s is also emerging as a second market. The dot com generation is currently a large target for the two companies. Because of the analysis of the audience, the thesis selected participants that were in the relevant generation in the ages of 25 to 35 years.

Respondents

The respondents were selected based on their use of the cars produced by the two companies under investigation. The number of respondents was 8, with the distribution being equal. The respondents also had to be owners of either brand. All the respondents were male, with the age distribution being between 25 and 35 years. The average age of the participants was 19.5, with a standard distribution of 1.2. These respondents were selected from the general population. Convenience sampling was applied. They also belonged to the same area. They were first asked whether they can be comfortable participating in the survey. The average number of years that the participants had owned their cars was 2.1 years, with a standard distribution of 0.3 years.

These participants were later subjected to the research requirements. All respondents agreed to participate in the research. They were required to read the first page of the questionnaires in the survey to ensure that they were aware of the rights that they had under the study. The respondents also worked in different companies. They were not required to state their earnings in the research. They however provided information on the reasons for the preferences in the car models they were operating.

Process

The process of data collection was procedurally done in this research, with the initial process being the determination of the sample size to be used in the study. The sample size that was arrived at was 8 participants. The strength of a sample is important as it determines whether the results of any research can be generalised into the general population. Larger sample sizes are better in generalisability as opposed to smaller sample sizes that are hard to generalise to the population.

After the sample was selected, the tool that was applied in data collection was carrying out of interviews, with all the participants answering the same questions. The questions were both closed ended and open-ended. The answers to these questions were compiled and analysed. Interviews have an advantage over the use of other tools in the gathering of information. The use of this tool allows the researcher to elicit the emotions of the respondents and allows for more accurate information gathering (Constantinides 2006; Owen, Lewis, Auty & Buijzen 2013; Sharp, Beal & Collins 2009). According to Mcniven, Krugman & Tinkham (2012), a researcher can also alter the interview and interpret the questions for the respondents. They also have the strength of allowing researchers to get as many answers as possible to the research question.

The questions that were asked to the participants include when they had purchased the model of the vehicle and what had influenced them most in the making of the decision to purchase the model as opposed to a similar model by a different company. The two companies also asked the participants whether they were influenced by the television adverts. Another of the question gauged the popularity of television advertising for the two companies. The participants were asked to state whether they were aware of any of the television commercials by the companies. They were also asked whether they knew the themes of the respective commercials and/or if the commercials will influence them if they decided to buy a car during the time of the interview.

The efficiency of the commercials was also assessed in the interviews. The participants were asked if they liked the commercials that BMW and Mercedes were running on their televisions. The respondents also gauged the strength of the commercials in influencing them by ranking them according to how they will influence any decision making in purchasing of cars in the future. The other factors about the assessment of the television advertising for the two brands were whether the TV commercials had changed the decision making for the participants in about the type of car that they may buy in the future. They were asked which of the two brands the commercials were more efficient in the provision of details about the particular models. He answers to the above questions were later analysed and used to make conclusions about the marketing strategies used by the two companies in relation to television advertising.

Justification

The methodology used in this research was appropriate for the thesis. It has many advantages over other methodologies in other studies. The size of sample selected was small by design. The reason for the size was to allow a faster analysis of the data provided, while at the same time providing reliable results (Jones, Suoranta & Rowley 2013). The use of interviews in the research was also justifiable since the method provided the best opportunity for the gathering of information about the television commercials. The tool allowed for greater and quicker information gathering. It was also cheap. It only took several days to interview all the participants. The information gotten from them was useful in the analysis. Generally, the methodology was adequate to provide a viable conclusion on the differences and problems that BMW and Mercedes Benz have in their television advertising campaigns.

Data Analysis

The results of the interview indicate that the use of television commercials in the influence of customer behaviour was successful for both companies. The average duration between the acquisitions of the vehicles by the respondents was 2.1 years, with a standard distribution of 0.3 years. The average for the BMW ownership was 2.8 years, with that for Mercedes being 1.4 years. This means that the participants had bought their Mercedes Benz models more recently on average in relation to the BMW owners. The marketing strategy put by the company can be a determinant of the age of these cars. Considering these results, the Mercedes models were much new compared to the BMW models.

More than half of the respondents (7) ranked the advertising by Mercedes Benz as being more influential. They stated that it was more convincing compared to the BMW adverts. They may also remember the wording for some of the commercials. This resulted in more confidence for the decision in buying this brand of car. The respondents stated that on average they had seen the Mercedes Benz commercials more often and for more times as compared to the BMW TV commercial. The number of times that the respondents had seen the commercials is 5.2 for the Mercedes Benz commercial and 3.4 for the BMW commercial. Over half of the respondents said that the BMW commercials were longer than Mercedes commercials and that they provided the most information about the company’s products.

Respondents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
BMW 3 1 3 2 5 5 1 3
Mercedes 4 2 5 4 2 5 2 3

Table 1: the number of times that each of the car owners had seen a commercial on television for the respective carmakers

Chart showing the distribution of commercials among the respondents
Figure 1: Chart showing the distribution of commercials among the respondents

The performance of the vehicles was also assessed in the interview. The respondents were required to state whether they liked the way their vehicles performed. A general satisfaction was evident with the models that the individuals were operating and all the 8 participants said they were happy with their respective brands of car. All said that they would still prefer the ‘make’ of car that they had if they were compelled to buy another vehicle and that advertisement had a lot to play in influencing their decisions. Six of the respondents stated that they would still buy from the companies that made their brand of car. Advertising was a major influence for this decision. The two that did not wish to buy from the company that sold them the current car stated that they needed to change to a better model. These participants stated that they would buy a Mercedes Benz, since their current car was a BMW.

In answering the question of whether the qualities displayed in the advertising commercials were provided in the actual cars, the respondents were divided on the answer. 2 respondents from each group indicated that they felt the adverts were misleading and that the advertised components were not as they had been provided in the actual cars. The respondents were also supposed to rank the companies based on how they advertised their models on the television. They ranked Mercedes Benz higher on the various aspects of advertising that were being examined. In terms of the timing of commercials, Mercedes ranked higher than BMW. Most of the respondents stated that television commercials by Mercedes were well timed. They will see them often in between programmes in their favourite television channels

Commercial timing Commercial Duration Entertaining
Respondents BMW Mercedes BMW Mercedes BMW Mercedes
1 2 4 3 4 2 3
2 3 5 4 3 3 5
3 2 4 4 4 3
4 5 4 4 2 4 5
5 1 3 2 1 5
6 5 3 3 2 2 5
7 2 3 3 1 3 4
8 3 1 3 4 1 3

Table 2: how the respondents ranked the qualities of commercials for both carmakers on a scale of 5

Graph showing the commercial timing, entertainment and duration as scored by the respondents
Figure 2: Graph showing the commercial timing, entertainment and duration as scored by the respondents

The other quality about the commercials was the quality. The respondents were asked which of the two companies had television adverts that were captivating. The BMW commercials ranked highly in this, with the respondents stating that they were captivating and informative. The duration was also a factor. The respondents stated that the commercials by BMW lasted longer in relation to those by Mercedes Benz.

Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations

Discussion

The results of the research indicate that the use of television advertising for both companies is a significant influence on the trends and perceptions held by customers. Both companies run a successful advertising campaign. The advertisements on television are effective in reaching the younger generation of customers as witnessed in the study. In comparison, Mercedes Benz had more people who had bought its vehicles recently. BMW had fewer cars being purchased by the participants. If this can be used as a measure of success in television advertising, the advertising campaign by Mercedes can be said to be more successful than that by BMW.

However, the assumption cannot be generalised to the general population, as the number of respondents was small. In any research, the sample size is important in making some conclusions. This one required a larger sample size. Coffey (2013) observes that advertising success can be measures through the number of sales made. For the participating individuals, more had bought the Mercedes models more recently indicating that they had liked this brand.

The other factor that was assessed in the research is the influence that the television commercials had on the decision making of buying the vehicles. The results indicate that the advertising campaign on television that Mercedes Benz runs are more successful than that run by the BMW company. The television commercials are also memorable, as the respondents can remember the wording for most of the Mercedes Benz commercials as opposed to the BMW commercials. The ability to capture an audience in advertising is important. In television advertising, the companies should ensure that they captivate the audience and use the most entertaining means of getting their attention and delivering their message (Laroche, Kiani, Economakis & Richard 2013).

The timing of a television commercial is also important. Television commercials should be placed at a convenient place in programming (Coffey 2013). In some places, the advertisement of company products that are similar may appear back-to-back. This situation is not the case with BMW and Mercedes commercials. The two are arranged conveniently far from each other. The respondents stated that they had seen more of Mercedes Benz commercials compared to the BMW ones. This means that Mercedes has a better presence on the television compared to BMW.

The duration of a commercial is an important aspect in the marketing strategy. The companies have to be accurate in length that they develop for commercials. Too long commercials can be boring to their audience depending on the message while too short commercials may be inadequate to communicate the intended information (Coffey 2013).There are instances where the commercials are effective whether long or short, but the developers of these commercials have to ensure that they captivate the audience and provide the necessary information. The respondents generally stated that the BMW commercials were longer than Mercedes commercials, and that they provided the most information about the company’s products.

The length of the commercials in this case is not proportional to the quality. Despite BMW running longer television adverts, the respondents did not rank it as having the better of the two companies. The consistency of advertising and the actual product is necessary for any brand to be successful. The two companies had consistencies between the product performance and the information given in the television adverts. The preferences of any individual are important in determining the decision-making in the buying process. The research establishes that the commercials are a positive influence on the buying habits of the participants.

Mercedes Benz had a better appealing commercial on television compared to BMW. Some of the BMW owners among the participants said that they would consider buying the Mercedes Brand if they were to change their brand. This shows that the brands advertising on television was stronger, thus leading to better decision-making for the clients. The brand preference is one of the most useful measures of the success of advertising strategies that any company puts up. If this strategy is to be applied, Mercedes has a better strategy compared to BMW.

In summary, the measures applied by Mercedes in television advertising were more successful in influencing the decisions of the clients, and they are likely to provide more sales in the future because of the same. The general finding is that while BMW had longer and informative television adverts while Mercedes Benz had appealing and shorter commercials. However, the two companies have commercials that are popular with the public. There is consistency between the information provided in commercials and the actual quality of their products.

Limitations

The study had a number of limitations that can hinder the interpretation of the data obtained. One of limitations is the number of respondents that were interviewed. This number was considerably small. However, the number was chosen based on the idea that the information required can be gotten from any number of respondents. This number can be generalised. The other limitation to the study and the thesis itself was the absence of a reliable measure of the attitudes of the respondents. The accurate measure of the attitudes of the participants towards the television advertising for each of the companies might have provided important information on the advertising practices.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the television advertising practices by a particular company influences the number of sales that it is able to achieve. The automobile industry is among the most competitive in the world. Many companies are fighting for the increasing market. The use of television marketing, though largely used in the last century, is still an important tool for influencing consumer behaviour. The thesis paper looks at the utilisation of television advertising for BMW and Mercedes Benz. The two companies were chosen based on that they are involved in the manufacture of car models in the same class of vehicles. These are premium luxury cars.

The paper provides the history for the different carmakers and their use of television advertising along with the different strategies that they have applied in their advertising campaigns. The respondents indicate that the television advertising campaign by Mercedes Benz is more successful as compared to that used by BMW. The factors that make the advertising campaign by Mercedes to be more successful include more targeted messages, a better timing in the scheduling of the commercials, and promotion of a consistent image of a classy company. The commercials that the two companies run on the national televisions are an influence to the total sales volume. This inference may reveal the better potential sales expressed in the respondents for Mercedes Benz. The results also indicate that based on the television adverts and the results from the different respondents, Mercedes Benz is more likely to remain successful in larger volumes of sales as compared to its arch rival BMW.

Recommendations

Based on the findings of the thesis, there are some recommendations that both companies need to implement in their advertising strategy to be more successful in the future. The recommendations include that:

  • The two companies should invest more on television advertising. BMW is required to have a bigger proportion in quality television advertising if it is to compete with Mercedes Benz.
  • The planning of the commercials to be aired on television should be by experts. Both companies should invest in shorter and more captivating television adverts.
  • The timing of commercials should be when the public is watching television. These companies should ensure that their adverts are played during prime time television viewing.

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