GM - No Super Bowl Ads This Year, But Plenty Of NFL Ads
GM’s former CMO Joel Ewanick may have pulled the plug on any plans by GM brands to advertise during the 2013 Super Bowl in favor of Manchester United before he abruptly left the automaker in July, but that isn’t stopping the GMC brand from redoubling its long-running interest and investment in the National Football League.
Just consider the 30-some GMC Sierra pick-up trucks that just took over Times Square for the NFL Kick-Off (check out the pictures on Facebook). “Nothing changes for us” in terms of the GMC brand’s association with the nation’s most popular sport — and a brand marketers’ best friend — Chris Hornberger, GMC national sales promotion manager, told brandchannel. It’s been three years since the GMC brand or vehicles have been featured in a Super Bowl ad anyway.
GMC is one of a chorus of brands that continues to increase their bets on professional football with this week’s kick-off of the official season “like children anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus,” as New York Times ad columnist Stuart Elliott put it. Nothing else comes close to matching NFL games as a prime-time TV-advertising vehicle, but there are doubters.
There are doubters. “The NFL and the networks are over-leveraging that huge audience, adding more commercials, promos and sponsor mentions every season, to the point that the games are simply unwatchable live,” snarked George Simpson in Mediapost.com.
But GMC and its peers will go right on ignoring such reservations. For GMC’s part, the brand is returning to its “Never Say Never” theme and also planning to touch NFL fans with a number of twists this season, through its NFL.com/GMC website, Twitter and other digital platforms — as well as good ol’ reliable TV advertising of its pick-up trucks and SUVs.
The brand, for example, has enlisted ESPN play-by-play man Mike Tirico and NFL Network commentator and ex-player Warren Sapp to “host” its website. GMC also is giving away tickets to Monday-night games in a partnership with the league by leveraging fan interest in star players. And it is featuring some retired legends, such as Gale Sayers, on online discussion of some of the “Never Say Never” moments of their own careers.
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