The National Football League season is rushing towards its climax and soon the airwaves will be filled with NFL playoff games packed with advertising for new car and truck advertising culminating with the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, which is very likely to attract record amount of automotive advertising.
Flush with cash from strong sales during 2014 and a promising outlook for 2015, carmakers appear ready to spend heavily on the new advertising for the big game. And spend heavily they will, a 30-second spot is $4.5 million, which is up from $4 million during last year’s game.
There will be some notable absences, however. Volkswagen, which scored a big success with its Little Darth Vader spot several years ago, is sitting on the sidelines this year. And Jaguar and Lincoln apparently won’t be there, either. But they will be exceptions, rather than the rule.
One indication of the willingness of carmakers to tackle the Super Bowl challenge is that Nissan will advertise during the 2015 game. Nissan is led by Carlos Ghosn, whose penchant for cost cutting and penny pinching is something of a legend.
Nissan, however, has already announced that it will join the starting line-up of advertisers for NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX. Nissan last aired a Super Bowl commercial in 1997.
But Jeremy Tucker, Nissan North America’s new vice president of marketing, who joined the company in September after a career at Disney, said the return to major events such as the Super Bowl is part of Nissan’s “Big Moments” marketing strategy.
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The approach that has helped drive Nissan’s current sales and brand awareness growth and the Super Bowl, the ultimate big event, certainly fits nicely with the strategy, Tucker said during a recent press briefing.
“This is a great time for Nissan to make a big brand statement in front of one of the largest global audiences of the year,” said Fred Diaz, Nissan senior vice president of sales and marketing.
“Consumers are going to be hearing a lot about Nissan, and our bold new models, like Murano, throughout the next few months building up to Feb. 1,” said Diaz. “We’re going big, and there’s no bigger moment than the Super Bowl.”
Neither Diaz nor Tucker offered any details about Nissan’s Super Bowl commercial, adding it will be integrated with social media elements that will be announced closer to the game.
Nissan, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.
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Carmakers have found that Super Bowl ads inspire a huge reaction on social media and are viewed millions of times by fans sharing advertising clips via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In recent years, Volkswagen and Kia have made Super Bowl spots a key element of the national advertising efforts. Michael Sprague, Kia executive vice president sales and marketing, declined to say whether Kia is preparing to advertise on the 2015 Super Bowl telecast.
“But you know our history,” he observed, adding by the time the game rolls around Kia will be in the midst of introducing the public to the new Sorento crossover.
Kia also has successfully used sporting connections to build its brand image and recently signed National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James to serve as a brand ambassador.
As for VW, a spokesperson said it will not be in the Super Bowl XLIX rotation “due to other priorities and initiatives,” despite a heavy TV push for its new Golf “family,” which has been emphasizing the compact line’s selection as Motor Trend Car of the Year.
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While some brands could pass on the 2015 Super Bowl, it is almost certain to attract spots from several luxury brands such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Cadillac. Chrysler Group, which has enjoyed sales success since it launched a memorable Super Bowl spot featuring Detroit rapper Eminem, will undoubtedly find the game irresistible after a strong year in 2014 and General Motors has every reason to give its image a boost with Super Bowl ad of its own.
(Paul A. Eisenstein contributed to this report.)