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Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Why Chevy, GE, P&G Tout Other Brands in Their Ads

Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2012 02:15 PM

The Super Bowl is always a harbinger of advertising trends to come, and one of the most interesting this year already is fully apparent: More brands want to do more than ever to break into one another's marketing space, particularly in TV advertisements. The Big Game will bring a healthy sampling of this rising phenomenon.

And we're not talking about the traditional art of finding ways acceptable to regulators, and to the viewing public, of denigrating competing brands here. The new trend is to use other, non-competing brands to help form an overall context that creates unprecedented sorts of synergies for your brand.

Other examples may pop up during the course of the game broadcast on Sunday, but the most interesting one so far is a General Electric ad at top that spends a lot of time talking about how the company makes turbines that help generate power that help Budweiser brew beer and get it to the local pub. The association lends an extra dose of authenticity to an ad that features interviews with actual GE workers at its Schenectady, N.Y., plant.

"Anheuser-Busch is a longstanding client of ours and they were excited about getting involved," Andy Goldberg, GE's director of creative content, told brandchannel. "The main focus on their end was just to make sure their brand was also portrayed in a good light and that it felt natural to their brand and how GE serves it. They saw our previous documentary ads on healthcare and aviation and thought that they were a great storytelling module. At the end they viewed it as a benefit — linking two well-known, classic American brands."

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble has been teasing out attention to its ads -- actually planned for the day after the game for Old Spice. The idea is that Old Spice body spray is so powerful that it can't even stay within the bounds of its own advertisements, so the Old Spice guy can't help but show up in ads that start out looking like pitches for other actual new P&G products, such as Charmin Freshmates, a moistened and flushable new type of toilet paper, and Bounce dryer bars.

These were the sorts of twists that GM CMO Joel Ewanick was after a few weeks ago when he fruitlessly searched for ways to "place" Chevrolet or his company's other brands in the Super Bowl ads of non-competing brands. Apparently he didn't get very far, and reportedly NBC executives discouraged the experimentation so they could maintain the sanctity of their $3.5-million to $4-million, 30-second slots.

But Ewanick found a back door that he demonstrates in a clever spot for Chevrolet Silverado that will run during the Super Bowl.

In a world where the Mayans' predictions of 2012 apocalypse come true, a Silverado owner drives out of the rubble to meet other Silverado owners who, of course, uniquely have survived the ravages of the end. On his way to their pre-arranged meeting, he passes a junked statue from the front of a Big Boy restaurant. And when they meet, a fellow survivor is holding a box of Twinkies — a wink at the snack's reputation as lasting forever. And so, in GM's humorous spot, do Silverados.

Update: Ford didn't take too kindly to its brand being trashed in GM's spot — click here for details.

Comments

Brent Williams United States says:

Great observation on the GE ads.
All I could think to say after seeing its Budweiser ad was "Brilliant!" Not only were they able to connect their non-consumer products to a very well known consumer brand, they just gave a very high profile plug for one of their customers, keeping them a customer for years to come.
What is the out come of this? Everyone wins! That is what makes it brilliant!

February 5, 2012 11:50 PM #

candace kuss United Kingdom says:

This is a really interesting trend. Think it has been with us for a while in the consumer tech space. Many smart phone ads are full of references to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, et al. Which makes sense of course.

February 6, 2012 10:57 AM #

ned United States says:

The GE Budweiser ad seemed gratuitous to me . . . duh, Budweiser uses electrical power.  The same power (generated by the same turbines) powers every American business.

February 11, 2012 05:52 PM #

Comments are closed

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