Reasons Why Car Companies Advertise On College Campuses

Reasons Why Car Companies Advertise On College Campuses

The auto industry faces rising competition with ride sharing services. Car companies advertise on college campuses to establish consumer trends and develop brand loyalty.

1. The Auto Industry Faces Rising Competition with Ride Sharing Services

According to a study by Alix Partners, a consulting firm, “a half million vehicle purchases in the U.S. have been avoided due to the growing popularity of car sharing programs like Zipcar and Relay Riders.” Ride sharing services know that by penetrating the college market, they will find people open to alternative means of transportation and as students adopt this new technology, growth will occur: “Research finds that most college campuses that start a program see sizeable growth rates in car sharing usage, grow­ing 20-30 percent on a year-over-year basis.”[i]

Ride sharing companies know the power of word of mouth. They recognize that college students will not only spread the word on campus, but they will also spread the word to their family and friends. College students are key influencers. If you introduce new ideas or technologies into the college market and students are receptive, they will influence other consumer markets.

Car companies need to recognize the importance of the college market and work on ways to reach college students. They must build an on campus presence in order to compete with ride sharing companies.

2. Car Companies Advertise on College Campuses to Establish Consumer Trends

 The college market is unlike any other target market. College students have not established many consumer habits or strong brand loyalties, when compared to older demographics, so it is easier for brands to influence college consumers. Phil Caruso, marketing manager at General Motors, explains why the college market is so important: “Like many other automotive brands, this audience is critical to the growth of our business. The beauty of targeting millennials is there’s not a negative or very positive perception of the brand. They’re very neutral about our product.”[ii] This neutrality means that students are more open to hearing from brands because they haven’t developed strong opinions of the brand yet.

This is an excellent chance for brands to build brand awareness and establish consumer trends. If you can reach students during these impressionable years, you can establish long-term consumer trends and develop brand loyalty. If your brand is not advertising on college campuses, then your brand is missing out!  

The auto industry faces many challenges ahead from competition from ride sharing companies to declining teen drivers, however, college advertising can help car companies grow. If you’re interested in learning how to advertise on college campuses, contact NAM Youth Marketing.


Download College Marketing 101


[i] Healy, John. “Grading the Campus Car-Sharing Market.” CTAA.

[ii] Zmuda, Natalie. “Marketers Hitting Campus Harder Than Ever.” Ad Age.

This entry was posted in Auto, Brand Awareness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *