'Twas six weeks before the Super Bowl, and Auto Brands are Stirring with Visions of Advertising.... Yes, with holiday promotions expiring soon, automotive marketers have been turning their attention to the next big item on their plates — how to approach advertising in and around the big "tentpole" events of the first half of 2012, namely the Super Bowl and Oscars.
And for the Big Game, they're all highly cognizant of the significant returns that most of last year's advertising participants got for their $3 million per spot during the broadcast. It looks like auto-brand participation may meet or exceed last year's lofty level even though the going price now has risen to a reported $3.5 million for a 30-second game spot and other elements of a "package" being offered by NBC in association with Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 in Indianapolis.
Volkswagen today announced that it plans to advertise in the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year.
The brand plans to focus on its new Beetle during a 60-second spot in the third quarter of the game. Last year, Volkswagen got huge applause and buzz from its two 30-second spots: "Black Beetle," an animatronic ad offering (also a hit on YouTube, with more than 5 million views) an early promotion of the Beetle that eventually was launched in the fall, and "The Force" (aka "Little Darth Vader"), with more than 45 million views on YouTube.
Thanks to the Star Wars-centric sneak peek at the Passat, designed exclusively for American tastes, the model outsold in October and November the number of units sold of the previous version of the Passat for all of 2010.
Hyundai would like a little more of that kind of result. The brand, as Bloomberg notes, plans to appear in the game again and attempt to build on its major record of success over the last three Super Bowls. With the Super Bowl introduction of its Assurance incentive program three years ago, Hyundai began a steady climb in popularity and buzz with American consumers, and in 2011 its share has continued to climb.
But now Hyundai of America CEO John Krafcik wants to get more creative than conceptual, he said recently, and "turn the needle a little bit in the direction of more entertainment," he told Automotive News. Krafcik, not surprisingly, wants to go for more "memorability" like that achieved by Volkswagen last year.
Meantime, what to do if you're Chrysler? It's unlikely the brand can possibily equal the tour de force it produced for last year's Super Bowl, the two-minute "Imported From Detroit" spot that debuted during the third quarter. Now boasting more than 13 million YouTube views, that instant clasic featured Eminem, the city of Detroit, a gospel choir, a nifty new slogan ("Imported from Detroit") and a made-over Chrysler 200 and produced image-making success that has helped propel Chrysler for the rest of this year. "We have a lot more pressure on us," Chrysler brand chief Saad Chehab stated.
Lexus will make its first Super Bowl appearance, and Toyota also will re-appear in ads. The three German luxury brands all are likely to show up again as last year. And Chevrolet will purchase multiple spots during the game — though likely not featuring the troubled Volt in any of them.
Joel Ewanick, GM's CMO, waxed philosophical about the Super Bowl as a marketing platform. "Every year there is this huge competition and challenge," he told the publication. "That's actually what makes the Super Bowl so appealing for you as a marketer and advertiser, because all of that energy that's around those commercials just makes everybody better."