By on January 5, 2012

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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20 Comments on “General Motors Trying Stealth Tactics For Super Bowl Ads...”

  • avatar

    I can see an Orkin ad with those little red Cruzes running around a neighborhood infesting it with low resale values.

    Or one of those 21st Century insurance ads where they show two LeCrosses getting demolished!

    Or a Cool Ranch Dorito commercial filmed inside a Enclave.

    Or the lingerie bowl…

  • avatar

    This approach is a natural evolution toward a total marketing environment, and its time will come. Rules will be changed as required to make it possible.

    Today, movies are crawling with paid product placements — to the point where selling stealth ads has become a significant part of the revenue calculation for filmmakers. When the character you are watching on screen is driving a Chrysler minivan, drinking a Pepsi, or taking her new Jimmy Choo’s out of a box, it’s no accident.

    Here’s a prediction (which has probably already happened somewhere): one day — probably soon — we will be able to go to a website to discover what all the product placements were in a given program. Viewers taken with an actress’s look will be able to find out who makes her jacket, handbag, sunglasses, shoes, and all the rest, and where nearby retailers can be found.

  • avatar
    Twitter: phauser

    inb4 yo dawg / adception

    “Spot the blatant product placement” is one of my favorite games to play when watching films. Apple and car manufacturers are among the worst. I believe EVERY car on the highway was GM in the famous Matrix 2 highway scene.

  • avatar

    Maybe a Sonic could be placed within an ad for NAPA or Pep Boys. Because brake pads are something you’d have to buy aftermarket if you were dull enough to buy a Sonic in the first place.

  • avatar

    I’ve always been an NFL fan, but never even come close to a live SuperBowl. It’s here in Indianapolis this year, and I’m pretty amazed at the infinite hype that the SB generates in a locale.

    Based on the local news, half the population here is trying to rent out their house for 40 grand for the week, LOL.

  • avatar

    Remember when GM first stole Ewanick away from Hyundai, they acted as though it were a brilliant coup that would revolutionize their marketing?

    Over a year later, Hyundai hasn’t missed a beat and GM is still hopelessly stupid when it comes to marketing products.

    • 0 avatar

      good point, glad you noticed. the incentive structure at GM has gone from mind boggling to complete insanity. I can quote a price on a Nissan in under one minute. a GM vehicle can literally tie you up for hours during which you can alienate the client by asking questions to determine what they are eligible for. the sizzle fades and often they are offended after discovering what they don’t get.

      Ebonic came on the scene with flair but the marketing savvy just ain’t there.

  • avatar

    marketing can’t fix a dud product

    GM makes a few good cars but they dont have the breadth of the koreans

  • avatar

    The missus and I just watched the movie “Horrible Bosses”, and I can only conclude that the filmmakers got a king’s ransom for the VW Jetta product placements. One particularly gratuitous moment has two of the characters reclined in the Jetta’s front seats, leading one to proclaim, “these seats are so COMFORTABLE!” That was the *entire* scene. I half expected to see a singalong dance sequence in a Volkswagen dealership, a la the infamous McDonald’s scene in “Mac & Me”.

  • avatar

    Curious to see how they integrate Chevys into all the Budweiser ads. Budweiser and Chevy-a classic combo.

  • avatar

    When the show Leverage premiered, they had a product placement and joint promotion deal with Hyundai (Tesla also supplied product and got their logo splashed across the screen). In those episodes, the bad guys all drove Ford products and the big villain drove a Lincoln. In one scene there’s a shot of him behind the wheel from the front of the car. Right in the middle of the frame was the Lincoln star hood ornament. So it’s not just product placement, it’s dissing that product’s competition too. All this can mess with advertisers once the shows rerun in syndication.

  • avatar

    a few years ago when Red Ink Rick was stripping the asset shelf, shuffling capital to his Board of Bystander buddies, and killing sales to achieve BK, two shows aired with significant detriment to Buick. one was the season finale of ER featuring an assailant shooting from his clearly identified Buick Riviera. the other was Desperate Housewives in which Eva Longoria took a mall job as a model working at a Buick display that no one would stop at. she was presented as beautiful and bored because of a bland and undesirable Buick.

    see Rick, I have been paying attention. how you have avoided prison still makes me question the relationship between the banksters and our government. you stole from millions, lied to the public, and intentionally ruined GM, then walked into a board seat the the Wash Post, your reward as a GOB.

  • avatar

    What about the old Wayne’s World movie where they poked fun at product placement? LOL – that pretty much did it for me!

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    Unable to recall the last Superbrawl spewed out of the TV this Disgruntled Old Coot observed.


    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.

  • avatar

    Cost effective, and brilliant!

  • avatar
    gator marco

    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.

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