SBD/January 25, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Auto Industry Revs Up Super Bowl Ad Buy With Nine Car Brands Featured

Kia will use Super Bowl spot to launch marketing campaign for '11 Optima
The automotive industry could be “buying the most commercial time of any advertiser category” during Fox' broadcast of Super Bowl XLV, “vying with beverages and movies for the top spot,” according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. There may be “as many as nine car brands peddling their wares” during the broadcast, from "economy makes like Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia to luxury marques like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.” There were five carmakers in the Super Bowl in ‘09 and six in the game last year. The ad buy for GM “signals a return to the Super Bowl after two years away.” It will also be “the first Super Bowl in a decade for BMW, which will run two commercials in the game, and the first ever for Mercedes-Benz.” The automakers are “surrounding their Super Bowl buys with extensive pre- and postgame promotions, many of them in social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.” Kia is planning a contest to give away five cars and will team with SocialVibe to sponsor a “Big Game Tournament” for “players of Zynga social games like FarmVille.” Kia in a 60-second spot planned to run in the first quarter will “go back and forth in time.” The commercial for the Kia Optima midsize sedan, via David & Goliath, L.A., “mimics a science fiction movie; the cast members include an Aztec-type chieftain and his tribe, Poseidon and space aliens.” This will be the second Super Bowl for Kia, which “appeared in the game last year with a 60-second commercial for the Sorento crossover sport utility.” Kia Motors America VP/Marketing & Communications Michael Sprague said Kia will begin running teaser commercials on Monday. Auto-related marketers also are “clambering aboard the Super Bowl XLV bandwagon,” with Bridgestone, CarMax and “buying spots in the game” (N.Y. TIMES, 1/25).

ON SECOND THOUGHT: CNBC’s Julia Boorstin noted Pepsi is returning after skipping last year, GM will advertise for the first time since ’08, Best Buy is “spending on its first-ever spot in the game and the usual suspects are returning: Anheuser-Busch and e-Trade as well as movie studios.” However, some recent advertisers, like Papa John's, Monster and Denny's, are not returning to the game this year. CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen said with the high TV ratings for the NFL conference championship games, “I wonder whether some of these companies will reconsider those decisions in light of the viewership. The ratings for the NFL this year have been as strong as they have been in a long, long time” ("Power Lunch,” CNBC, 1/24).

HEART BREAKER: Skechers Fitness Group President & CMO Leonard Armato said the brand’s Super Bowl commercial starring Kim Kardashian is “a little racy.” But he stressed that the spot, centering on the reality TV star “going through another breakup,” will not “push the envelope too much.” Armato: “Kim is going to break someone’s heart in the fourth quarter of the game. That’s all I can tell you” (, 1/24).
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