Detroit’s Big Three Automakers Pass on Super Bowl 2024 Ads Amid Market Challenges

Detroit’s renowned “Big Three” automakers – Stellantis NV, General Motors Co., and Ford – have collectively decided to steer clear of advertising during the 2024 Super Bowl. Despite the Detroit Lions being division champions this season and having their best shot at the NFL title in years, these industry giants are choosing to bypass the advertising frenzy of Super Bowl LVIII, set to air on February 11 on CBS.

The decision comes amidst a climate of high pricing for Super Bowl ads, with a 30-second spot reportedly costing around $7 million, according to Ad Age. Despite the 2023 Super Bowl drawing an impressive viewership of 115.1 million, the Detroit Three are reevaluating their marketing expenditures in light of broader industry and economic conditions.

The automotive industry saw a rebound in sales in 2023 as supply-chain issues resolved and pent-up demand from the pandemic was satisfied. However, 2024 is anticipated to bring more moderate growth due to persistent high interest rates and consumers seeking incentives to make purchases, leading to potentially squeezed profit margins unless costs are cut.

Stellantis NV, in particular, is adjusting its marketing strategy in response to challenging market conditions. The company, which aired two commercials during the previous year’s game, is reevaluating its participation in events like auto shows and the Super Bowl. “With a continued focus on preserving business fundamentals… we will not be participating in the Big Game this year,” said a statement by spokesperson Diane Morgan.

General Motors Co. has similarly used the Super Bowl platform in recent years to promote its electric vehicles (EVs) and partnerships. However, GM spokesperson Arianna Kughn stated, “We continually evaluate our media strategies to ensure they align with our business priorities.” Ford, which hasn’t aired a Super Bowl ad in several years, reaffirms its stance, with CEO Jim Farley famously saying, “If you ever see Ford Motor Co. doing a Super Bowl ad on our electric vehicles, sell the stock.”

The collective move by Detroit’s Big Three comes in the wake of a costly autoworkers strike, which impacted both GM and Stellantis significantly. As the U.S. auto market faces challenges and companies strive to protect their North American operations, the Super Bowl’s traditionally exorbitant ad costs and the pursuit of more targeted, efficient marketing strategies are leading these automakers to forgo the Big Game’s advertising extravaganza.

As CBS, which will air the Super Bowl in February, reported nearly selling out all of its ad slots for the broadcast, the absence of the Detroit Three marks a significant shift in the automotive advertising landscape, reflecting broader industry trends and strategic reevaluations.

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