SBD/January 14, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

CarMax To Make Super Bowl Debut With Two 30-Second Spots

CarMax' two 30-second spots will air in second and third quarters of Super Bowl

Used-car retailer CarMax "will make its first national splash" in the Super Bowl with two 30-second spots during Fox' Feb. 6 broadcast of Super Bowl XLV, according to Rupal Parekh of AD AGE. CarMax VP/Creative Marketing & Advertising Laura Donahue declined to "address specifically" how much CarMax paid for the two spots, one of which will air "in the second quarter and one in the third." But she said, "The ancillary benefit -- the fact that you're so talked about, all the buzz you get both online and on TV -- that a national presence provides us as an advertiser seems to benefit us versus last year's standpoint. It's expensive obviously, but we really liked the value." The ad buy "was handled by CarMax's in-house media team, while the creative will come from its new agency," Amalgamated, N.Y. Donahue noted the company "bought the time well past October." Donahue: "I think we got some of the last inventory, because I know (Fox was) more than 90% sold out when we got our two spots." Parekh noted CarMax commercials in the past have "starred animals such as monkeys and prairie dogs." While Donahue was "coy about the creative the spots will showcase," she did say that "furry creatures won't have quite the starring role they had in the past" (ADAGE.com, 1/13).

RETURN GAME: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reports a 30-second CareerBuilder ad that will air during the third quarter of the Super Bowl "revives characters that appeared in well-received spots the company ran during the 2005 and 2006 Super Bowls." Those spots "featured a hapless drone whose co-workers are chimpanzees, thus likening a bad job to dealing with idiots." CareerBuilder President & CEO Matt Ferguson and company marketing officials "are mum for now on details of how the coming commercial, created internally, will revive the chimpanzees." Elliott notes CareerBuilder as part of the previous chimpanzee campaign "teamed with a digital agency, Oddcast, to introduce an e-mail service called Monk e-mail, which enables computer users to send messages featuring customized images of 'talking' chimpanzees." People "continue to use" the service, as CareerBuilder VP/Marketing & Communications Cynthia McIntyre noted the company is "up to 160 million total messages being sent." However, Oddcast is "reworking Monk e-mail for 2011 to include social sharing features and 3-D images." A new element called Monk-e-maker will allow users to "transform photographs of their friends into simians." Additionally, there will be a game on Facebook, "to make its debut after the Super Bowl, that takes place in the virtual office of Yeknom Industries." Yeknom, "monkey" spelled backward, was the setting for the '05 Super Bowl spot (N.Y. TIMES, 1/14).

PRELUDE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The N.Y. TIMES' Elliott reported Audi of America Thursday night was slated to begin running a 60-second commercial that is "intended as a prelude" to its Super Bowl XLV spot, "which is to run in the first commercial break in the first quarter." The "stage-setting spot" is from Venables Bell & Partners, S.F., and is based on the children's book "Goodnight Moon." It "uses the familiar rhythms of the words by Margaret Wise Brown to describe how the concept of luxury has changed profoundly," and it "takes viewers inside a mansion stuffed with excesses of all kinds: a table overloaded with food, a jewelry box overflowing with cufflinks, an over-groomed poodle." Both commercials are for the '11 Audi A8 sedan and promote it with the theme "Luxury has progressed." Audi of America CMO Scott Keogh "declined to discuss what the Super Bowl spot will be like, other than to hint that it will feature a 'satirical and humorous escape.'" Keogh added that the "Goodnight" commercial will make "numerous appearances this weekend and the weekend after" during NFL playoff games. Both spots "will run on various TV shows" after the Super Bowl. Keogh added that Audi also "plans to use Facebook to generate interest in the Super Bowl commercial," and that there will be "sponsored messages on Twitter ... and a take-over by Audi of the home page of YouTube on Super Bowl Sunday" (NYTIMES.com, 1/13).

LEFTOVER SPOT: AD AGE's Natalie Zmuda reported PepsiCo "has a seventh spot in the mix" for the Super Bowl broadcast "in addition to the six spots already promised to Pepsi Max and Doritos for this year's 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest." The company is "in the process of determining which of its brands will get the spot." Sources said that Brisk Iced Tea "is in the running," but "so are brands from the company's snack portfolio." It also is "possible that the company could look to sell the spot back to Fox if it's unable to settle on a brand to advertise" (ADAGE.com, 1/13).

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