Ford GreenGeneral Motors may be raking in the awards with its Chevrolet Volt right now, but Ford isn't exactly going unnoticed for its efforts on the green front. The Green Blue Oval has won Nielsen's first Automotive Green Marketer of the Year award. The honor is given to brands that help shape consumer awareness of environmental themes, and Ford beat out Chevrolet, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota for this year's pick in the automotive category. According to Nielsen, the campaigns for both the Fiesta and Fusion Hybrid helped tip the scales in the Ford direction. Additionally, Nielsen says that FoMoCo's decision to sponsor this year's hybrid-oriented American Idol helped out quite a bit as well.

This isn't just some popularity contest, though. Nielsen dug through three research studies to determine each manufacturer's effectiveness in green advertising. All told, over 7,000 participants were involved in the research. Hit the jump for the press release.

[Source: Nielsen]
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Ford Grabs First Ever Nielsen Automotive Green Marketer of the Year Award

Los Angeles, CA – November 18, 2010 – Ford is the inaugural winner of the first-ever Nielsen Automotive Green Marketer of the Year award. The award was presented today by The Nielsen Company at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in recognition of the brand that made the greatest strides in gaining consumer awareness and positively shifting consumer perceptions for their environmentally friendly marketing initiatives.

Ford has built significant awareness over the past year around their hybrid vehicles and fuel-efficient cars with key campaigns for Fiesta and Fusion Hybrid, as well as their Drive One 2.0 brand ads featuring hybrids and miles-per-gallon (MPG) related ads. In addition, Ford's official sponsorship of Fox's reality show American Idol, which put specific emphasis on the hybrid offerings, has helped drive increased awareness of their green message among millions of people every week. Last season, American Idol's popular Ford Music Video Challenge, in which exclusive Ford music videos aired each week, featured the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid among other vehicles, successfully grabbing the attention of consumers. Meanwhile, the company continued to break ground in social media with the launch of new apps aimed at expanding its reach to a new class of prospective car-buyers.

"The Automotive Green Marketer of the Year award is not just about great creative, although we all know that's a crucial element of any effective ad campaign," said Lois Miller, President, Nielsen Automotive. "However, this is bigger than one creative. This award is for the auto marketer who was most effective at leveraging its brand to further the 'green' movement and create positive awareness for all the auto industry is doing to drive fuel-efficiency and eco-friendly practices. This was best exemplified by Ford."

Methodology

To determine the finalists and winner of the Automotive Green Marketer of the Year, Nielsen leveraged three research studies – a cross-media survey, and separate analyses of data on TV advertising effectiveness and social media "buzz." These three studies were then analyzed to understand awareness levels and perceptions for 'green' auto marketing across media types. Auto manufacturers that ran any national TV ads with "green" themes between October 2009 and September 2010 were eligible for consideration.

In the cross-media survey of nearly 7,000 U.S. consumers, Nielsen found that 85% of consumers said they recalled seeing a 'green' auto ad recently and, on average across the 23 brands measured, 67% of consumers said they had a more positive opinion of green marketing after seeing the ad. Further to that, 41% of consumers said the ad increased their consideration to buy the featured vehicle.

As TV continues to be an important medium for auto marketers, Nielsen analyzed its TV ad effectiveness data for green automotive ads based on the reactions of 2.5 million TV viewers who had seen the ads. Nielsen found that green auto ads resonated better than the average auto ad with 12% higher Message Recall, the percentage in which a viewer can recall an ad, the brand or vehicle featured in the ad, and the green message conveyed.

Nielsen also examined consumer sentiment through social media, a key emerging platform for auto marketing. With nearly 60,000 messages analyzed for auto brands, consumers view their green auto marketing efforts in a positive light with 12 times more positive "buzz" than negative.

The remaining four finalists for Automotive Green Marketer of the Year included:

* Chevrolet, whose highly-anticipated Volt launch has generated much consumer interest and discussion around their green offerings;

* Honda, which is still generally associated with fuel efficiency, garnered attention this year with its notable use of 3-D technology in ads;

* Mercedes-Benz, whose new diesel-electric hybrid S-400 debuted at last year's LA Auto Show and was launched on television during the Academy Awards; and

* Toyota, which leveraged the strong launch work behind the Prius from mid-2009 and saw strong returns from these ads at the end of the year and for their other Prius initiatives.

"Looking at all automotive brands in the study, the five nominees rose to the top across the three studies," said Miller. "They gained the most awareness and positive perceptions from consumers around their green marketing initiatives. Ultimately, in a challenged economic environment, this was no small feat."