DETROIT — Phoenix Marketing International, a market research firm, released a report detailing the best advertising practices for all of 2011. It showed that Chevrolet, Volkswagen led the way among non-luxury brands, while Audi led in the luxury segment.

The analysis, which looked at multiple vehicles segments and media types, looked at data collected from more than 148,000 evaluations of more than 750 unique TV and print ads. According to Phoenix's findings, innovation and efficiency messaging prevailed in many successful ads across the industry. Ads that are clear, believable, and informative also performed well.

Phoenix analysts conclude that non-luxury respondents favor engaging ads that are humorous, clever, entertaining and unique, while luxury respondents are more responsive to ads that have a serious tone, portray a brand they want to be associated with, and show an attractive vehicle.

Non-luxury brands whose ads fared well with consumers in 2011 were Chevrolet and Volkswagen. Some of their top-performing spots included humorous scenarios with clear demonstrations of vehicle capabilities. The report also notes that while efficiency messaging is effective in both the non-luxury and luxury segments, luxury ads with messaging on fuel economy often succeed when combined with messaging on performance.

The "best practices" report also determines which messaging elements appealed most to non-luxury car owners and purchase intenders of different age groups (those under 40 and those 40 plus). The report showed that ads depicting alternative fuel vehicles and conveying the paradigm shift toward these vehicles tend to resonate more so with younger non-luxury car owners and purchase intenders. Conversely, ads with safety and quality messaging are more effective among those 40 or older.

Additionally, the Phoenix report discussed the elements of a successful luxury car print ad. The top performer in this category was Audi, whose series of one-page ads successfully convey a blend of style and "intelligent engineering" in order to announce the launch of the redesigned A6 model.

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