Auto Company Advertising Budgets Slashed in a Bid to Save Money

By Automotive Staff | November 14, 2008
When it comes to car advertising in this depressed economy is it time to bring back “Cal Worthington and his dog Spot?” Cal Worthington was born in 1920 in Shindler, Oklahoma and grew to fame in western states for his low cost, down home advertisements for his car dealerships. Centered mainly on Cal’s “unique” personality, these ads were wholly unforgettable. And who was Cal Worthington’s dog Spot? Spot was usually a giant tiger, leopard or cougar sitting next to a couple of used Mercury sedans. On closer inspection it really doesn’t make sense that Cal was calling these cats his dog Spot. Perhaps that is where the true comedy lies. Was Cal Worthington an advertising genius ahead of his time? We are pretty sure he was ahead of the curve by so obviously not spending much money on his television ads.
In an article posted here recently on, we learned that automakers have cut ad spending by 8% for the year. This was pr ecipitated 13% decline in car sales on average spread out among every major manufacturer. Times are tough and auto companies have to figure out less expensive ways to get the word out about their wares. Here’s one idea. Why not stop with all the silly ads where all you see is a minivan or SUV cornering tight apexes on a mountain road? No one ever remembers those ads. You know what makes people remember you? Humor and campiness. And Cal Worthington had both of those in spades. Our view? With no end in sight for the current economic freefall, there is no doubt that automobile advertising budgets will continue to shrink faster than a fat kid in the middle of the Sahara desert. It’s time to find more creative and less expensive ways to attract consumers. We are not sure if any auto advertisement could be as entertaining as those made by Cal Worthington, but is that really a good reason not to try?