A Look at automotive advertising in the UK 

The UK automotive industry is one of the largest and most diverse in the world, encompassing manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers. The industry faced significant challenges in recent years, including the impact of Brexit, changes in consumer behaviour, and the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges have impacted the advertising strategies of automotive companies in the UK.

Changes in the regulatory environment have also impacted the UK car industry. For example, the government has set targets to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, which has led to uncertainty for some brands, making it harder for automotive companies to justify advertising spending.


Shifting trends in automotive advertising

One of the most notable trends in recent years has been the shift towards digital advertising. More and more automotive companies are investing in online channels, including social media, video ads, and influencer marketing. This is partly driven by the changing habits of consumers, who are increasingly researching and buying cars online.

Another trend is the growing importance of sustainability in advertising motor vehicles in the UK. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, and many are looking for cars that are more fuel-efficient or run on alternative fuels. This has led to a greater emphasis on promoting eco-friendly models and highlighting the sustainability credentials of brands.


Why should automotive businesses retain a broad media mix?

According to Nielsen’s Auto Marketing Report 2018, automotive businesses should retain a broad media mix in advertising. The report highlights that car buyers interact with an average of 24 touchpoints across various media channels during the purchase journey. 

Using a broad media mix that includes traditional and digital channels, automotive businesses can reach consumers across different touchpoints and maximise their exposure to potential buyers. Additionally, the report shows that different media channels play different roles in the purchase journey, with TV effectively creating initial awareness. In contrast, search, and social media drive consideration and purchase intent more effectively. By retaining a broad media mix, automotive businesses can use the strengths of different media channels to reach consumers at various stages of the purchase journey and maximise the impact of their advertising campaigns.

Benefit Outline of Broad-Mix Advertising:

Diverse Audience: Different advertising mediums appeal to different demographics, meaning manufacturers can target specific audience segments through specific channels. For example, traditional advertising mediums such as TV and radio are still popular with older demographics, while digital advertising channels such as social media are more popular with younger demographics.

Increased Visibility: By using a variety of advertising channels, manufacturers can increase their visibility and reach more potential customers. The more channels used, the greater the chance that a manufacturer’s message will be seen or heard by someone interested in buying a car.

Flexibility: Different advertising channels offer different levels of flexibility in terms of message, format, and targeting. This can allow manufacturers to experiment with varying advertising approaches and tailor their message to diverse audiences. For example, a manufacturer may use video advertising on social media to build brand awareness while using search advertising to target people actively searching for a new car.

Consistency: Using a broad range of advertising mediums allows manufacturers to be consistent with their messaging across different channels. This can help build brand recognition and trust with potential customers.

Measurable Results: Digital advertising channels can track and measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns in real time. By using a combination of traditional and digital channels, manufacturers can take advantage of the best of both worlds and use data to optimise their campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

In summary, using a broad range of advertising mediums is a smart strategy for automotive manufacturers because it allows them to reach a wider audience, increase visibility, be more flexible, maintain consistency, and measure results.



The outlook for automotive advertising in the UK may be uncertain, but there is hope; with a focus on a broad mix of mediums, including digital channels and sustainability initiatives, companies can still reach potential customers while demonstrating their commitment to environmental responsibility. Companies can adapt to changes in consumer behaviour while still achieving success within this ever-evolving industry.


How can Corporate Trade benefit automotive manufacturers?

Working with us at Active can help car manufacturers advertise by providing an alternative way to finance advertising campaigns, optimising their unused assets’ value, and introducing fleet opportunities. Here are some ways in which corporate trade can help car manufacturers:

Asset Management: By working with a corporate trade company like Active International, car manufacturers can optimise the value of unused assets, such as unsold inventory, excess equipment, or discontinued product lines. We can help the manufacturer sell or trade these assets for Trade Credits that can be used to fund advertising campaigns. This allows manufacturers to free up warehouse space and improve their cash flow.

Fleet: We have a network of media owner partners who work with us by using their advertising space to fund their business costs. By working with Active, you can potentially use your vehicles in a fleet arrangement with our partners.

Corporate trade can help car manufacturers advertise by providing an alternative way to finance campaigns, optimising the value of their unused assets, and mitigating risk. If you want to learn more about how we can help, don’t hesitate to contact us


“Active International is a valued business partner to Kia and has helped drive incremental value to our business since the start of 2019. By working seamlessly with our media agency, Active have been able to maximise the value delivered across nearly £5m in barterable media to date. The level of communication, collaboration and support from the Active team is strong and makes them a very easy partner to work with. We have established a mutually beneficial partnership and I look forward to continuing this in the future”

Jane Fenn, Head of Brand Communications, Kia Motors