SBD/February 1, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

The Winning Drive: Super Bowl XLVI Broadcast Will Feature 14 Car-Related Ads

NBC’s telecast of Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday “will have more than 14 car-related ads, which will take up nearly two dozen of the 70 30-second ad slots that carried an average sticker price of $3.5 million,” according to Petrecca & Horovitz of USA TODAY. Advertisers are “rolling out big-budget commercials to rival the splashiest of soft drink marketing.” Auto advertisers have “revealed high-octane commercials that feature celebrities such as Matthew Broderick and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as showing their autos doing extreme stunts -- including a Chevy Sonic skydiving and bungee jumping.” Hyundai, Lexus, General Motors, Audi and Volkswagen have released “full versions of ads online,” while Toyota, Honda and Acura have released teasers. Petrecca & Horovitz write it is “no accident” that Honda turned to Broderick and Acura turned to Seinfeld and NBC's Jay Leno, as “all appeal to Boomers, who have the wherewithal to buy more cars than just about anyone” (USA TODAY, 2/1). In Chicago, Lori Rackl notes automakers are “taking the funny route this year.” GM has a “winning entry in its consumer-generated ad contest, ‘Chevy Happy Grad,’ in which a graduate mistakenly thinks his parents have given him a Camaro, and Toyota with a hilarious spot for its reinvented Camry.” Pavone PR Strategist David Shoffner: “We have a lot of car ads and a lot of rookies, which I think are both indications of a rebounding economy” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/1). In Boston, Donna Goodison notes Volkswagen will “again give a shout-out to ‘Star Wars’ fans this year with its ad during the third quarter of the big game.” The automaker’s spot, “The Dog Strikes Back,” is set for pre-release today and features the '12 Beetle and a "surprise ‘Star Wars’ ending.” Volkswagen, ad agency Deutsch, L.A., and Lucasfilm “created a replica of the creature-filled ‘Star Wars’ cantina” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/1). Meanwhile, Lexus will air a 30-second spot at the end of the first quarter of the game that features the ’13 GS and hints at the additional new cars Lexus will unveil in the coming year (Lexus).

BEHIND THE SCENES: ADWEEK’s David Griner reported Honda's “pitch-perfect homage to ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’ has quickly become one of the most talked-about Super Bowl ads in recent history. RPA Exec VP and Exec Creative Dir Joe Baratelli, whose California-based agency created the ad, said that the agency “wanted an ad that celebrated the redesigned Honda CR-V as a car for enjoying life, not just for running chores.” Baratelli: "The film embodies the theme of getting out and doing stuff. And our client saw the potential of tapping into the fandom of ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’ for the Super Bowl. We started talking with Paramount and Broderick's people and decided we wanted a feature comedy director. That's when Todd Phillips came on board, all the while improving the script. We all wanted to be respectful of the original movie.” Griner noted one of the “subtle ideas that keeps the spot from sullying the original movie is that it's not actually a sequel” to “Ferris Bueller's Day Off.” Baratelli: "It was always Matthew Broderick. We felt it was more interesting and believable to have it be about him, as an actor, paralleling the movie. A real person skipping work and having an adventure fit in with the campaign and the Honda brand better, rather than trying to recreate the Ferris Bueller character" (, 1/30).
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