Super Bowl Ad Watch: Mercedes-Benz Teases Superstitions, Kate Upton Spot

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Super Bowl XLVII may be unique in that one of the biggest potential branding opportunities has suddenly materialized less than two weeks before the Big Game. And the opportunity is called the Brothers Harbaugh.

It seems unlikely that even the biggest brands would be able to land a deal with Jim or John Harbaugh, or both, this close to the Super Bowl, given that each is now consumed with how to beat the other’s team — and that, for the winner at least, there should be plenty of endorsement opportunities after the game.

But some marketers may be able to figure out how to tie themselves tangentially at least, maybe even convincingly, to what already has become the most intriguing Super Bowl story line perhaps in decades: the mutual success and striving of two accomplished opposing coaches, less than two years apart in age, who happen to be siblings. They’re also young for their profession, telegenic, well-spoken and smart.

So we await news on Brother International or some other less obvious brand figuring out how to tap into all of that. In the meantime, there are plenty of other brands gearing up for a Super Bowl lift ahead of Game Day, including Mercedes-Benz.[more]

The German automaker has much to gain from the Super Bowl this year because it is going to be played in the Superdome in New Orleans which is now named for the car brand, and because Mercedes plans to introduce a new line of vehicles, the CLA-Class, that are aimed at younger luxury buyers, in a 60-second spot called “Superstitions” during the fourth quarter of the contest, teasing the “Diner” spot above with online vignettes titled “Dishes,” “Sundae,” “Jukebox” and “Coffee.”

The brand is beginning to grasp the opportunity already. Mercedes-Benz ran teaser ads on Sunday during the AFC title game on Fox, featuring the car blowing into New Orleans and making a huge impression. The spots indicated a big part of the brand’s strategy for making CLA appeal to younger buyers, by pivoting aggressively away from the “old luxury” positioning that Mercedes-Benz typically has relied upon. And on Tuesday, it released a teaser spot for its Big Game ad featuring model of the moment Kate Upton.

Papa John’s is counting on its Super Bowl XLVII Coin Toss Experience, in which fans are voting on Facebook for “heads” or “tails” in a bid for a free pizza for the winning group, to crescendo the brand’s season-long engagement with NFL fans during which Papa John’s gave away two million large pizzas, double the number during the 2011 season.

Skechers counted on dogs for the appeal of its Super Bowl spot last year, but this year the shoe brand is going the feline route. Scheduled to air during the two-minute warning before halftime, Skecher’s ad features a man in the brand’s GORun2 shoes chasing a cheetah, judging by a just-released teaser. Skecher’s first two years in the Super Bowl featured an ad starring Joe Montana and then one spotlighting Kim Kardashian.

Cars.com is returning to Super Bowl action for the sixth straight year with a spot about taking the “drama” out of car buying. Dubbed “Why Drama?,” the ad is a kickoff of a new marketing campaign for the online service.

Beck’s opened a pop-up “jewelry store” in Beverly Hills to celebrte its Beck’s Saphhire, which will be introduced to the world by Anheuser-Busch InBev with a Super Bowl ad. The pop-up showcases a unique art installation by Moritz Waldemeyer, the famed German designer and engineer. Beck’s will be opening three more popu-ups in New York, Chicago and Miami.

Target isn’t an official Super Bowl sponsor, but the chain is eagerly pushing the envelope to take advantage of the game anyway. It is promoting a mobile game called Snack Bowl in which players are awarded points for tossing branded snacks such as DiGiorno pizza and Coke Zero to jersey-wearing guests who are running across their living room. Fail to feed them, and the game is over. Target is promoting the game on its mobile site and apps and through paid mobile advertising.

“Rookie brands” in the Super Bowl are getting some attention in the walk-up to the game, including Unilever’s Axe, Gildan Activewear, SodaStream International, Wonderful Pistachios and AMC’s The Walking Dead. Are the risks worth the potential rewards?

Wieden+Kennedy also is receiving kudos for being behind so many Big Game spots.

And USA Today has noted how popular crowdsourcing of Super Bowl ads has become, counting Pepsi, Lincoln, Pizza Hut and Doritos among the increasing number of brands who’ve reached out to the public via social media to help with their ads.

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