Are you ready for some football? Big brands surely are. The National Football League may be a marketing and TV-programing juggernaut, but it is carrying more weight for more major brands than ever.
Take auto advertisers, for instance. Despite football telecasts that already were slated to be crowded with other car brands, Audi decided to use tonight's kickoff game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys for the marketing launch of its crucial new 2013 S Models. These performance nameplates (S6, S7 and S8) and the "S" brand are fundamental for Audi to move to the next phase of its positioning in the U.S. market, as a provider of exciting, luxurious and well-designed automobiles.
And so the NFL gets the call tonight to host the first Audi ad under its new tagline, "Heighten Every Moment," featuring the Audi S8. The 60-second spot (watch it above) will run in the first break after kickoff. Audi also announced that it will appear in the Super Bowl game in February, its sixth consecutive advertising appearance in the big game.
Not to be outdone, Chrysler also has decided to rely on tonight's game to launch its own critical effort: the second wave of advertising for the Dodge Dart compact, the first car developed jointly by Chrysler and Fiat, and the company's statement that it intends to become a player in the small-car market. The 30-second ad — called "How to Make the Most Hi-Tech Car," above — highlights Dart's dashboard display. Dodge also expects to make further use of New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady as a spokesman for Dart, as he was in a cameo appearance in the first Dart ad, in July.
PepsiCo brands already are in full flourish under the company's new 10-year agreement with the NFL, which includes a return to sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show. And on Wednesday its Doritos brand announced the return of Crash the Super Bowl, its "crowdsourcing" contest in which consumers create their own Super Bowl ads starring Doritos for the chance to see their work during the game telecast.
And despite the fact that the Green Bay Packers are a year removed from their last Super Bowl victory, there's still a lot of interest in the commercial potential of the men in green and gold. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, for example, the league's MVP last year, is the star of two new national ads for Pizza Hut which will run tonight — "Shush" (above) and "Camping Out." It's not the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, however — that title goes to Papa John's, which is back with a 2 million pizza giveaway promotion and Peyton Manning. Members of Papa Rewards online customer loyalty program are eligible to win one of 120,000 pizzas given away each week of the NFL regular season.
The Packers' Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews has struck a new partnership with Gillette, inviting fans' best impressions of Clay’s infamous “Predator Pose” on Facebook.com/Gillette:
...while Packers Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings is shillling this season for Old Spice:
Fellow P&G brand Tide is launching a "Show Us Your Colors" campaign with the Giants commercial below, and a promotion on Sunday at the Packers game in Lambeau Field against San Francisco — with the aim of "coloring out" the game with a promotion featuring free Tide-branded Packers t-shirts on ever fan's seat. Fans are expected to don the garments between the national anthem and kickoff "in a stunning display of the team's pride for their colors," as Tide put it in a press release.
Not to be out-done are beer brands. Bud Light, for instance, has declared 2012 "The Year of the Fan" and is enhancing the NFL experience "for fans everywhere" through a variety of promotions that will pop up on TV and Facebook. And Corona has teamed up with Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN commentator Jon Grudent to showcase the best football "beach" destinations in the United States with the launch of the "Find Your Beach for the Game" promotion.
Brands that don't ride the NFL bandwagon are opting for the appeal of college football — or both. Dove Men+Care, for instance, is trying to leverage both the college and professional football success of new spokesmen Doug Flutie and John Elway as it kicks off its fourth "Journey to Comfort" advertising campaign in tanden with the beginning of the NCAA season, and in partnership with EA Sports and Microsoft Xbox Live as well as the NCAA.
Nissan is returning to sponsor, along with ESPN, a "Heisman House" as an experiential program at NCAA football games that also gets the word out about the Heisman Trophy Trust that controls the awarding of the famous trophy. Nissan kicked off the campaign at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas before the Alabama-Michigan game over Labor Day weekend.
Hershey, too, wants some of that college-football glow around its products as it extends its agreement with CBS Sports, Turner Sports and the NCAA to provide an "expansive footprint" in marketing with college sports.
It seems every brand that possibly can, big and small, is seeking to attach itself to the football craze that overtakes America at this time of year. They include Sorenson Media, which has announced that more than half the NFL's 32 teams use its Sorenson Squeeze video-encoding software for their fan sites, and Mutt Industries, an agency that has created three new ad spots for NFL GameDay on the NFL Network.
They're all ready for some football.