General Motors Trying Stealth Tactics For Super Bowl Ads

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
general motors trying stealth tactics for super bowl ads

Rather than running commercials during the Super Bowl, General Motors is looking to try something more subversive – product placement within other brand’s TV spots during the big game.

Automotive News reports that GM marketing man Joel Ewanick was investigating the possibility of paying other advertisers to insert GM vehicles into their ads. But various contractual elements related to Super Bowl advertising may kill the idea in its nascent stages.

Super Bowl ads are apparently restricted via a form of non-compete clause. Ford and Chevrolet could not run ads in the same “pod” (i.e. commercial break), and GM’s plan would cause havoc with this arrangement. Having GM products inserted into another company’s ad, as well as commercials for GM’s own products would cause a logistical nightmare for the people who decide where and when ads are placed.

Furthermore, the plan would run afoul of a long-standing policy against buying a 30 second spot and then re-selling 5 or 10 second blocks of time. NBC, which broadcasts the game, would also have to approve any ads that feature the promotion of an unrelated brand. The article also mentions a “reward system” that would give small prizes to viewers who are able to spot product placements, though no details on this seemingly silly scheme were given.

As much as Super Bowl ads have become a part of pop culture, meriting their own examination, the undeniable fact remains that for many, the ads are a great way to grab another beer or, shall we say, recycle the liquids via the municipal sewage system.

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  • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on Jan 06, 2012

    GM's styling and cars are the epitome of bland, with only Toyota and Honda competing for the most appliance-like styling. With most of the public currently unaware of what GM even sells across its remaining 4 brands, and the constant reshuffling and resurrection of brand names--is a small car a Cavalier or a Cruze, do they still make the Impala and how is it different from the Malibu--is it a really good idea to hide GM's products? You don't look twice when you pass a drab Enterprise rent-a-car champagne blandmobile on the road. Hiding one in a commercial will just make it disappear.

  • Obbop Obbop on Jan 06, 2012

    Unable to recall the last Superbrawl spewed out of the TV this Disgruntled Old Coot observed. Yawn. Did notice the lack of road traffic and few attendees at local retail outlets where I went to stretch the legs and flirt with the female employees and otherwise be a general nuisance.

  • Damikco Damikco on Jan 06, 2012

    Cost effective, and brilliant!

  • Gator marco Gator marco on Jan 06, 2012

    In the movie Twister (1996), everyone drove a new Dodge minivan, and the hero had the indestructible Dodge pickup. The bad guy drove a non-descript GM truck. The hero even drove the Dodge through a house, and the truck came out without a scratch. Watching the whole scale demolition of entire towns, but the hero's truck never even got dirty, actually detracted from the movie. The only product placement I can recall in an actual commercial was a recent Old Navy clothing commercial. The pizza delivery guy delivered a Domino's Pizza, not the typical generic white box that had "Pizza" printed on it. Generally the vehicles in commercials are as generic as possible, so as not to detract from the product being advertised. Note the latest State Farm Insurance commercials with the dorky guy who is always wrecking his car. It's pretty obvious a late 90's Ford Taurus, but the identifying Ford emblem from the grill is removed.