With Traffic Jam in Super Bowl, Can Any Auto Brand Win?

Hurdle Is Much Higher to Make Ads Stand Out in What’s So Far an Eight-Car Pileup

When Americans tune into the Super Bowl on Feb. 6, they should expect to see as much metal as they do pigskin.

Car marketers are taking the Super Bowl seriously this year. As of press time, at least eight different auto manufacturers had purchased airtime, many of them buying more ad time than in the past. BMW North America is returning after a decade and will use the broadcast to launch a new slate of cars. General Motors and Chrysler are both back in the Game with a focus on Chevrolet and multiple brands respectively. Volkswagen and Kia are also returning with additional spots while Audi of America, Hyundai Motor America, and Mercedes-Benz will all be airing commercials. Marketers are hoping to use the Big Game to create powerful, memorable ads that break through the clutter. Jeff Goodby of Goodby Silverstein & Partners believes this is possible, saying, “I hope we do a combination of the two things we talked about — a big idea and some things that are really fun to watch and memorable.”

Volkswagen, which aired one Super Bowl ad the last time around, will return with the purchase of an additional spot. Kia, which last ran a 30-second spot, will run a 60-second ad in Super Bowl XLV, while Hyundai Motor America will air three ads — one more than it did in 2010. Mercedes-Benz will air one 60-second spot in the fourth quarter from Merkley & Partners, timed because the company has four new product launches next year and it is the 125th anniversary of the brand. “We’re up nearly 20% and want to ride that wave … it’s a good way to start the year,” said Donna Boland, corporate communications manager at Mercedes Benz USA.

By Rupal Parekh and Brian Steinberg

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