Mercedes offers a sexy sneak peek at the auto ad it plans for Super Bowl XLVII with Kate Upton.

The hype has begun. Super Bowl XLVII is still ten days away, but the mega-million-buck auto ad brawl is already underway as three of the eight deep pocket car advertisers pre-launch/pre-sell their new commercials to NFL fans!  The reason? Economics. And a numbers game.

At somewhere between $2.4 and $4.0 million per 30-second commercial this amounts to a helluva big expenditure for just one airing. But there’s an even bigger number, as over 115 million American viewers will watch the game February 3, some media mavens are predicting.

Until recently, advertising on the Super Bowl has been nothing more than putting up the game day spot and hoping, maybe, that it will trigger some Monday-morning quarterbacking around the water cooler — with polls and research adding some arguable, additional value. That was then.

What’s become apparent is that a fairly large percentage of viewers are more interested in the commercials than the game itself. So, how to take advantage of that and extend the payback beyond just a game-day airing that is over in 30 seconds, whether a viewer was sitting in front of the TV or off grabbing something from the refrigerator?

Now  with the various social media, like FaceBook and Twitter as well as YouTube, along with specials contests, promotions and PR hype, the shelf life for a good commercial can be dramatically extended to weeks, even months resulting in additional views extending well into the millions – even among consumers who – gasp – might not have tuned in on Super Bowl Sunday.

Result? The return on investment is as measureable as any ad investment might be.  And, of course, makers get to battle it out all over for bragging rights as to who was number 1.

Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing at Hyundai Motor America, told me in a phone interview, “(An) early release extends the life of the commercial, builds consumer interest and, most importantly brings early customers into our dealers.

To me, the latter reason is the most important for buying the commercial in the first place. With that in mind here are the early commercial entries into this year’s auto ad brawl:

Mercedes highlights the "Big Easy," New Orleans, host to this year's Super Bowl, in its second spot.


During the Detroit Show, Bernie Glaser vice president of marketing told me about their enviable role in XLVII – the game will be played in the Mercedes SuperDome – of which more shortly.  The ad plan was to pre-release a teaser, but in fact two advance spots were released earlier this week. One sexy little tease spotlighted actress Kate Upton and has already received over 3.4 million hits on YouTube – but also generating a fury of negative comments for being, critics claimed, overly sexy. The other is a cinematic mystery tease of what is coming February 3 shot in the Big Easy with some great music.

To see the Kate Upton spot that has everyone quite literally in a lather, Click Here.

For a look at the second “Big Easy” spot from Mercedes, Click Here.

Hyundai will be the biggest car-vertiser on this year's Super Bowl broadcast, with six spots.


Like every NFL game it all begins with the coin toss and in XLVII Hyundai has the primo commercial position – a 60-second spot for the new 7-passenger Santa Fe prior to the heads-or-tails call. I’ve seen the rough cut and production vagaries notwithstanding and you can Click Here for the not-so-sneak preview.

There are two in game spots, including another for Santa Fe and one for the turbo Sonata. Hyundai also has bought a couple pre-game ads – featuring the Genesis R-Spec and Santa Fe. Obviously, the new family-size SUV is getting the most play. With six commercials pre and in-game makes Hyundai the biggest car-vertiser in the big show.

Audi is also offering a Super Bowl teaser.


More than a tease, the rising luxury car marquee is asking consumers to vote for the favorite end of their sixth Super Bowl commercial. For 24 hours beginning at 11:59 p.m. EST January 24 and closing twenty-four hours later viewers of the commercial on YouTube can pick their favorite from three possibilities. The most popular will be added in post-production and will air in advance of the game and have the enviable commercial position of the first break after kick-off. 

What’s Coming this year?

The newest entry in the auto ad brawl in Super Bowl XLVII is the reborn, revitalized, redesigned, reengineered Lincoln brand from the renamed Lincoln Motor Company. All previous car companies except Chevrolet have re-upped. Actually Chevy is involved the half time show with the allegedly lip-syncing Beyonce.  As previously revealed, the pop phenom is expected to receive a new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a special version of the C7 hand-built just for her.

(Click Here for more on that story.)

Clint Eastwood and the "Halftime in America" ad became a viral hit after the Super Bowl debut.

Top BRANDS In Last Year’s Super Bowl Auto Ad Brawl

Last year was a great sales year for the automobile industry, but a not-so-good year for auto advertising on Super Bowl XLVI according to the Ace Metrics retrospective report just released. Over one third of all commercials aired on the broadcast were from auto brands yet only two of the sixteen auto commercials aired last February were in the top ten ranking.

The big winner as the most effective automotive Super Bowl ad over the last three years was Chrysler’s two-minute homage to Detroit starring Clint Eastwood in 2012 with a score of 633; the previous year the more serious Chrysler ad, Made in America, which featured rapper Eminem, scored 591 and led the way for Chrysler’s breakthrough auto ads in Super Bowls.

Ace Metrix measures commercials based on a consumer panel’s reaction to six variables – Likeability, information, attention, change, relevance and desire to arrive at the final scores for watchability and persuasion.

Chrysler scored with Clint Eastwood during the Super Bowl. Click on the image to enlarge.

“The Clint Eastwood ad proved highly inspirational, and in addition to scoring very high on likeability and attention. It also performed extremely well on relevance,” noted Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “It performed well across demographics and across regions of the country. The only negative about it was that it had low brand ID, meaning people had trouble recalling the ad was specifically for Chrysler.”

The second most-effective automotive ad featured Matthew Broderick in a grown-up version of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The ad for Honda’s CRV was a crowd pleaser, achieving an Ace Score of 630.

Acura’s “Transactions” ad starring Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno ranked third among automotive ads, achieving an Ace Score of 593, followed closely by the latest installation of Volkswagen’s Star Wars-themed spots (“Dog Strikes Back”), which delivered an Ace Score of 590, not quite measuring up to the 2011category-leading “The Force” ad, featuring a young boy dressed as Darth Vader, which achieved an Ace Score of 603.

Most Effective Automotive Super Bowl Ads, 2012

Rank Brand Ad Title Ace Score
1 Chrysler It’s Halftime America 633
2 Honda Matthew’s Day Off 630
3 Acura Transactions 593
4 Volkswagen Dog Strikes Back 590
5 Cadillac Green Hell 563
6 Chevrolet Happy Grad 558
7 Fiat Seduction 556
8 Hyundai Cheetah 552
8 Toyota It’s Reinvented 552
10 Chevrolet 2012 550
11 Hyundai Think Fast 544
12 Chevrolet Street Anthem 538
13 Kia Dream Car 537
14 Audi Vampires 536
15 Toyota Connections 502

Stay tuned. More to come next week.

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