Ford has "decided a Super Bowl ad for Lincoln makes sense and confirmed the luxury brand will have its first ad during next year’s big game with the help of celebrity Jimmy Fallon," according to Alisa Priddle of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Lincoln Dir of Global Marketing, Sales & Service Matt VanDyke said, "We have to get noticed. The Super Bowl is as massive as you can get and we need to make sure people know Lincoln is not what they thought it is." Fallon will "curate and write the Super Bowl ad via social media." He will tell the Lincoln story "from tweets from the public about the brand." The creative process will start tomorrow at 12:00pm ET and Lincoln "wants the input to be open, broad and completely random." At this point there "has not been a decision for Fallon to appear in the ad" (FREEP.com, 12/3). Ford said that it is hiring Pro Football HOFer Emmitt Smith "as 'brand ambassador' for Lincoln at the Super Bowl" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/3). Ford Exec VP/Global Marketing, Sales & Service Jim Farley "admits he won't sell any cars on a Super Bowl commercial alone, but he can start to turn the tide on the perception of the brand" (ESPN.com, 12/3).
BACK IN THE GAME: AD AGE's Brian Steinberg noted after joining the Super Bowl's ad ranks in '11 and sitting out in '12, Mercedes-Benz is "poised to redefine its appeal to the game's massive TV audience." M-B USA President & CEO Steve Cannon said that the carmaker will use the Super Bowl to "introduce its CLA, a 'highly stylized four-door coupe' with what might be a surprising price." In its last Super Bowl appearance, entertainer Sean Combs "had a featured role." M-B said that it "intends to run its 2013 ad in the fourth quarter." There already have been reports that "suggest model Kate Upton and singer Usher will be featured in the new effort." The ads are "being crafted with Mercedes' longtime agency, Merkley + Partners" (ADAGE.com, 12/3).
SEX SELLS: AUTOBLOG.com's Chris Tutor noted Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois has "unveiled five new Fiat ads he says could be used in the 2013 Super Bowl." All five were previewed at the L.A. Auto Show last week and "show five different 'everyday' situations where the 500 acts as a catalyst to boost adrenaline levels." The first shows "an attractive female driver suiting up for a spin around a track in the new electric-powered 500e." Her drive "goes well until the second turn when, obviously, something goes wrong." The spot "ends with the tagline 'Environmentally Sexy' above a rocking 500e." The second ad has "two tuxedoed men in the front seat of a 500L trying to catch a glimpse of two young ladies changing into bridesmaid dresses in the back seat." The third and fourth ads also are for the 500L and "make clever twists on the 'Very family friendly' tagline." But Fiat "saved the best for last." Supermodel Catrinel Menghia returns with "a scorpion co-star slowly inching its way up her bikini-covered back." As the new 500 Abarth Cabrio "streaks by, the stinger-equipped arachnid makes a strategic clip with a claw and we get the tag, 'Small, wicked... and now topless'" (AUTOBLOG.com, 12/3).
Wonderful Pistachios has signed boxer Manny Pacquiao to a one-year endorsement deal that will pay him "in the mid-six figures," according to a source cited by Bill King of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Pacquiao joins a “quirky stable of pop culture figures" to appear in the company's "Get Crackin'" campaign. His new 15-second TV spot debuted last night during “Monday Night Football,” then aired during “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The ad opens with Pacquiao “rhythmically peppering a green speed bag to music.” Wonderful Pistachios also “will sponsor Pacquiao’s HBO pay-per-view fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night, signing on with Top Rank in a deal that includes the Get Crackin’ slogan on the ring mat and on Pacquiao’s trunks, signs at the weigh-in, and pistachio sampling at the MGM Grand Arena on fight night.” The deal with Pacquiao “began percolating shortly after the London Olympics," where Wonderful Pistachios parent compant Paramount Farms sponsored boxer Jose Ramirez. Ramirez signed with Top Rank “early last month and will make his debut on the undercard of Saturday’s fight.” He also "will wear the Get Crackin’ slogan on his trunks” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/3 issue).
WELCOMING LEGENDS: The AP reported Pacquiao's recent visit with TNT NBA analysts Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller before his fourth fight with Marquez is "the subject of a 30-minute special that will air Thursday on TNT after the network's NBA doubleheader.” The show, titled "Charles & Reggie: Toe to Toe with Manny Pacquiao" features clips in which Barkley and Miller “spend time with Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif.” Barkley and Miller also are “shown shooting baskets with Pacquiao” (AP, 12/3).
Toyota has signed on to title sponsor Richmond Int'l Raceway's spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series races (April 26-27). The races will be known as the Toyota Owners 400 (Sprint Cup), which will celebrate the company's car owners, and the Toyota Care 250 (Nationwide), which will focus on its auto service departments. The company has done midway display activation at Richmond in the past and was the official pace car of the track in '12. RIR President Dennis Bickmeier said, "This takes it to another level. This central Atlantic region is an important one for Toyota. There is local buy-in from the dealers and region, as well." The company also co-sponsors the Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma in June. Bickmeier said that Richmond and Toyota have talked about activation plans, but those will not be developed until next year. Ford, Chevrolet and other auto manufacturers can still buy display space at Richmond before races. RIR's spring Sprint Cup race was previously title-sponsored by Federated Auto Parts in '12, Wonderful Pistachios in '11, Air Guard in '10 and Chevrolet from '00-09 (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). Bickmeier said that RIR's agreement with Toyota was a "multiyear deal for the spring races." Toyota Motorsports & Engagement Marketing National Manager Keith Dahl said that the deal to sponsor the races "had been percolating for some time." Bickmeier said, "The deals are getting harder to put together, they take longer to put together than any other time I’ve been in the business. It allows us to focus on other things." He added that "getting local companies involved with the action at RIR is still ongoing." Bickmeier said that it was "huge for the track to have gotten this settled just a few weeks after the season ended, after having difficulties finding sponsorship for the 2012 spring race." Bickmeier: "It’s a great relief to have all of our entitlement sponsorships locked up for 2013 and a few years beyond that" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 12/4).