Audi, Toyota to Advertise in Super Bowl

By Mike Beirne and Steve Miller

After a 20-year absence from the game, Audi will advertise during Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLII.

Toyota, which advertised during this year’s game in February, will also return.

Audi will feature is $109,000 R8 roadster in a 60-second spot that will air during the first quarter, said Scott Keogh, CMO of Audi of America.

“We are going to keep our cards close to the vest until Super Bowl day actually arrives, because I think we have a dramatic message,” Keogh said.

Keogh said the execution, from Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, will “grab into the heart and soul of the American struggle and the American entertainment business,” but declined to go into details.

The ad’s only broadcast TV airing will be during the Super Bowl telecast Feb. 3. However, there will be teaser spots available online prior at and third-party sites, filled with subliminal messages and innuendo that Keogh hopes will prompt repeated viewings as consumers attempt to decode the secret meanings.

“We want this to explode on the Web and get people talking,” he said.

The R8 is a so-called “halo” car, designed to draw attention to the brand. It first hit dealerships in October. Audi sold 104 of the R8 that month, and 67 in November.

The spot will kick off a bid to position the brand as a top-tier luxury car on the biggest stage in advertising.

“It’s time for us to not only let the experts and aficionados know about Audi; we want America to know about Audi,” said Keogh.

Audi spent $67 million on advertising in 2006, and $21 million from January through September of this year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Meanwhile, Toyota has also confirmed that it, too, will advertise during the Super Bowl, although it declined to say which model will be featured.

“We are still waiting to see what will be the model,” said truck marketing manager Brian Smith. A rep for the company said that the new Sequoia SUV or the Tundra pickup were both in play, but “we’re still two months out so we have to see as we get closer.”

Toyota in the past has launched several vehicles and vehicle “refreshings” with Super Bowl spots, including the Tundra pickup this year and the Camry sedan hybrid in 2006. In 2005, Toyota promoted the Prius hybrid with a 60-second Super Bowl spot.