SBD/January 25, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Auto Advertisers Feature Women, Humor In Super Bowl Ads

Upton's ad is "selling sexual objectification," according to the Parents Television Council
Super Bowl XLVII auto advertisers “will be featuring womanly curves and revving up humor to promote their big-ticket machines” instead of showing "cars hugging curves,” according to Petrecca & Woodyard of USA TODAY. A Kia ad for the Sorento SX Limited crossover SUV “shows toddlers and baby animals rocketing to Earth from outer space.” They are “part of a tall tale” that a father uses to answer his son’s questions, “Where do babies come from?” A second Kia commercial “shows a sexy robot-like woman roughing up a man after he kicks the tire of a new Forte EX compact sedan.” Toyota’s ad for the RAV4 features actress Kaley Cuoco as a “genie who fulfills a family’s wishes.” Among their “desires: becoming a princess and eating copious amounts of chocolate.” Audi’s ad stars a “prom-goer who is dateless but goes confidently in his dad’s S6 performance sedan.” Once there, he “boldly kisses the prom queen and is confronted by the prom king.” Audi posted three ads “with alternate endings on its YouTube channel and asked viewers to vote” for the ending to be seen during the game. Meanwhile, the first of Hyundai's two in-game ads promotes its Santa Fe brand and "involves a boy who creates his own dream team to take on ‘neighborhood troublemakers.’” The second shows a “couple on a road trip as they dodge unexpected obstacles in a Sonata turbo sedan” (USA TODAY, 1/25). AD WEEK’s Andrew McCains asked Hyundai Motor America VP/Marketing Steve Shannon how the “crowd of automakers in the game” influences the company’s creative approach. Shannon said, “You need to be more mindful of what the setting is, what the competition is. In the Academy Awards (where Hyundai is the exclusive automotive sponsor), we don't worry much about Target or Dove. Now, in the game, we don't try at all to suss out, what do we think Mercedes will do or what do you we think Kate (Upton, star of this year's Mercedes ad) will do. We do our thing, but it's a little more mindful of breaking out, taking advantage of that passion in the advertising and at the margin being upbeat and funny” (, 1/24).

BEHIND THE WHEEL: The TORONTO SUN reported Upton’s “saucy Super Bowl advertisement" has been criticized by a parenting group for "selling sexual objectification.” Mercedes-Benz’ 90-second promo starring Upton “has attracted heavy criticism from officials at the Parents Television Council.” A rep for the organization said, "This ad reinforces for millions of wives, daughters and sisters across the country that you use your sex appeal to get what you want. If anything, this ad proves that we’ve regressed rather than progressed over the last several years" (, 1/24).

RUNNING ON HIGH: MEDIA POST’s David Goetzl noted Skechers will “double its Super Bowl presence this year” from '12. The company said that it would “air two spots in the second quarter, one attached to the two-minute warning and another with football great Joe Montana.” The GORun line “will be plugged again,” but with a “cheetah trying to outrace a human with the shoes.” Montana will “back another line” (, 1/23).
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