Time was, car ads trumpeted mileage stats as a matter of course. But that was before the sport-utility vehicle era.
Rubin Postaer and Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., waxed nostalgic last year when, amid a West Coast spike in gas prices due to refinery fires, RPA's RpAlpha division broke a 30-second TV spot in that region touting the Honda Civic's superior mileage.
With gas prices soaring again, RPA has trotted out the spot once more, this time in markets covering 80 percent of the U.S.
The spot shows a gas pump racking up an expensive sale before the figure turns into a car's silhouette. The Civic is then introduced, followed by mileage information.
"Ever the opportunists, good advertising guys keep their fingers on the pulse, and if they can push a button quickly and effectively, they will push it," said RpAlpha executive vice president, general manager Denny Remsing. "We saw an opportunity, and we went for it."
The shop acted on its own and has since received accolades from Honda dealers, Remsing said, adding, "If gas prices remain where they are and the economy shows signs of softening, [these types of ads] will be topical again."