SBD/February 1, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Drive On: GM Unveils Several Commercials Scheduled To Run During Super Bowl

One of GM's Super Bowl spots sees Chevy morph into Transformer
GM yesterday unveiled its Super Bowl advertising plans to select reporters, and the ads "range from mildly funny to sentimental," according to Rupal Parekh of AD AGE. GM "will have a total of eight 30-second spots in and around the game -- two in the pregame, five within the game and one during the post-game show, which GM is also sponsoring." GM also will award a '11 Chevrolet Camaro to the Super Bowl MVP. All of GM's commercials "will promote the Chevrolet brand or specific models under the Chevy banner, such as the Cruze, the Volt, the Silverado Truck and the Camaro." Each spot was created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and they all carry the same tagline: "Chevy Runs Deep." GM Global CMO Joel Ewanick said that he "told his marketing team to ignore ad polls and avoid sophomoric humor in the spots and focus on telling stories about the brand." Meanwhile, Ewanick added that he is "happy about who's not in the game -- three car makers which he deems GM's most formidable challengers: Ford, Toyota and Honda" (, 1/31). Ewanick noted that GM "plans to release the ads beginning Friday to Facebook fans of its cars." The AP's Mae Anderson noted GM "also plans a tie-in with Fox's post-Super Bowl 'Glee' episode" (AP, 1/31).

ENTERTAINING AND EDUCATING: MEDIAPOST's Karl Greenberg wrote GM's Super Bowl ads are "humorous but not over the top and almost all of them are designed to encase a central 'I didn't know that' fact about the vehicles," specifically the Volt and the Cruze Eco. One spot for the Volt "trumpets the fact that you can charge the car's electric motor via any three-prong outlet for a dollar and change." The ad for the Cruze Eco is "a kind of meta commercial where a group of elderly -- and hard of hearing -- men and women are watching a TV spot for the Cruze Eco, but misunderstand that the vehicle can get 42 mpg." The facts are then "repeated, humorously throughout the spot." Ewanick noted that the ad for the Silverado "shows the vehicle as 'everyday hero' ... by having the owner use it to extricate his son from ever more ludicrous situations: a well, a cave, the belly of a whale, a volcano." Meanwhile, a spot for the Camaro, "teasing the vehicle's role in the third Transformers movie, actually masquerades as precisely the kind of ad automakers hate: a tacky tier III 'buy one get two free' type dealer spot." The dealer in the ad "promotes a big Camaro sale at his store by having a guy in a costume try to bash the hood of a Camaro with a mallet," but the vehicle "comes to life as the Transformer ... grabs the guy and hurls him over the dealership." Greenberg also noted GM will have a "big surprise in the post game show" (, 1/31).

DOUBLING UP: Coca-Cola announced yesterday that it will run new spots in the Super Bowl telecast for a fifth consecutive year. A 60-second spot entitled "Border" airing in the second quarter depicts two guards from neighboring nations pacing along their respective sides of the border, one drinking Coca-Cola and the other one watching him. Meanwhile, a 60-second spot entitled "Siege" that will run in the third quarter shows an army of ogres and their dragon marching toward a castle, whose inhabitants decide to use a Coca-Cola for protection. The ads are part of Coca-Cola's new global "Open Happiness" campaign, and were created by Wieden + Kennedy, Portland. They also are part of an integrated marketing program, which includes a five-second "Coke Cheers" animated billboard that will air during the Super Bowl telecast and alert viewers to voice their support for their favorite team and Boys & Girls Clubs (Coca-Cola). Coca-Cola North America Senior VP/Creative Excellence Pio Schunker said the company's presence in the Super Bowl is about trying to "express the brand's values and beliefs." Schunker: "We view this as our personal State of the Union" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1). Schunker added that the "Border" ad, which was shot last year in Morocco, "was not a reference to any particular troubled border" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/1).

AD ROUNDUP: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reports Groupon officials "hope their commercial in the Super Bowl, along with spots before and after, will help build awareness for the brand." The company has hired Crispin Porter & Bogusky to create the spots, but Groupon President & COO Rob Solomon "declined to discuss the content of the Groupon spot in the Super Bowl, which is planned for the third quarter, other than to describe it as 'irreverent and humorous.'" Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev's spot for its Stella Artois brand, via Mother, London, "features the actor Adrien Brody singing in a jazz club circa 1960" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1)....HomeAway's new national marketing campaign will debut with a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. The campaign features a fictional "Minister of Detourism" in a government facility where he highlights problems with hotel rooms and the benefits of vacation rentals. In the Super Bowl spot, a family struggles to get comfortable in a hotel room simulator. This is followed by a chain reaction that results in a "test baby" being accidentally launched into the air where it smushes up against the glass of the hotel room simulator before sliding to the floor (HomeAway).

MONEY WELL SPENT: Univ. of North Texas communications professor Peter Noble noted he would "comfortably say advertisers are probably very happy" with the Steelers-Packers matchup "primarily because they are two storied teams." Noble: "They're going to get a good bang for their buck based on the fact you have ... these name-brand teams" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/1).
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