With the holiday shopping season comes the rush of ads encouraging folks to go out and buy, buy, buy. Automakers aren’t immune from the sales push. Honda, Infiniti, Hyundai, and (perhaps most notably) Lexus are all running national campaigns to get shoppers into showrooms.

2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport
2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport

We won’t make the obvious joke about the one-percenters who can afford to give a Lexus as a Christmas gift (it’s been done), but we are curious if these promotions really matter to car buyers. Does Honda’s use of Vampire Weekend songs and Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld, Family Guy) make the brand that much hipper in the minds of holiday shoppers? Or does it simply fade into the background as one more in a series of never-ending Christmas-time commercials?

We suppose that dealers appreciate the showroom traffic in a time of year that otherwise might be dead. Cold weather and the presence of shopping malls might otherwise divert customers away from dealers, and while many car-shoppers are content to kick the tires, some folks might actually sign up for a sale, and others might bring their used car in for service, at the very least. And who knows, maybe shoppers enticed by the ads for the 2012s will instead choose cheaper 2011s, helping dealers clear inventory. Or maybe they’ll buy used.

Again, we think most consumers are shopping for stocking stuffers and more affordable gifts, like consumer electronics. We’re not sure if December deals bring shoppers into the market, although we do think that shoppers who are already in-market stand to benefit.

Whatever the case may be, we’d love to see a brand-new luxury sports car in the driveway, wrapped in a red bow, on Christmas morning. But we’ll settle for a smartphone.