While the staff at The Truth About Cars doesn’t decide a vehicle’s worth based on the advertising it’s associated with, we sometimes critique the choices automakers make within the marketing spectrum. Whether it’s Volkswagen’s subtle attempt to convince prospective shoppers to procreate or Aston Martin’s decision to use Tom Brady as its spokesmodel, we’ve got something to say.
Kia recently finished a TV ad, intended to debut during Super Bowl LII, where Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler hops into Stinger GT and literally turns back time. The spot begins with Tyler donning a racing suit in a trailer that includes a photo of himself (for some reason) before walking out to an abandoned oval track. Waiting for him is aged Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi and two Kia Stinger GTs.
The “Big Game” is as much of a sporting event and as it is a tactical delivery system for advertisements and, at roughly $5 million just to reserve a thirty second slot, the folks working in the media department want their commercials to have a strategic impact. Reaching your intended audience is only half the battle. You must also provoke them into action.
While there were plenty of Super Bowl 51 car commercials that got under people’s skin, those strong feelings often failed to morph into consumer interest. For example, Ford’s mobility-focused spot featuring Nina Simone’s classic civil rights song I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free was all over social media when it aired right after kickoff. However, nobody sent me a surprised and excited text about Ford like they did for Alfa Romeo.
Does anyone else miss those innocent days before YouTube? Back when we had to wait for the actual Super Bowl to watch our beloved Super Bowl commercials?
Nowadays, there’s pretty much no reason whatsoever to watch the game.
Let’s take a look at the commercials, in alphabetical order by automaker.
Thanks to U.S. regulators and a new consumer advocacy lawsuit, Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal now includes gasoline-powered Audis!
That, Continental still believes in rubber, the NHTSA plans on staying the course after their captain leaves the ship, and Toyota takes a knee on Superbowl LI… after the break!
Normally at this time of year, between Halloween and Thanksgiving, we start hearing about automakers’ television commercials for the upcoming Super Bowl. For decades, the National Football League’s championship game has been the marquee venue for car companies trying to make big impressions on consumers.
As Super Bowl ads became an item of interest all on their own, many automobile manufacturers have crafted entire campaigns around their commercials for the “big game”, with teaser ads leading up to the event and long form and other alternate versions released once the primary ads are broadcast on Super Sunday.
While it’s the highlight of American football, automakers from around the world pony up big bucks to display their wares before more than 100 million viewers. This year, though, with television ratings for the NFL in serious decline, it remains to be seen if the Super Bowl will continue to attract automakers’ advertising dollars, marks, pounds, lira, yen, yuan, and won.
Football fans are finalizing their Super Bowl 50 party plans, which will undoubtedly include copious amounts of heart-clogging edibles and liquids that might be confused for beer.
At the same time, Audi is tapping its foot in anticipation. The automaker will air a 60-second Super Bowl spot in an effort to get the attention of those cod-lager-swilling football fans watching the game next weekend. The price of that 60 seconds of airtime: approximately 10 million bucks.
Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi has escaped the diesel emissions PR backlash relatively unscathed — and has also been conspicuously quiet as of late. A little too quiet. That will change during the Super Bowl — and the automaker better have something good to say.
TTAC reader David Obelcz is back with his rundown of the latest crop of Super Bowl ads.
For some watchers of the Super Bowl the game being played is meaningless. For them the sport is not on the field and the debate is not that the Patriots are one of the most dominate teams in football history and Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to play the game why Pete Carroll didn’t give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in a 2 and goal on the 1 yard line. It isn’t meaningless to them because their team didn’t make the big game either. For some, the Super Bowl is all about the advertisements that run.
For the 2015 Super Bowl there were fewer car advertisements than previous years and from a marketing stand point, mostly duds. Thirty-eight national ad campaigns debuted that were required to turn 60 minutes of sport into four hours of television, 7 from auto makers. In addition, General Motors, Ford and Mini showed previously released advertisement in the 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
Some of the Best and Brightest of this hallowed site have suggested that Detroit sells on emotion, and emotion doesn’t sell product. If that’s true than a lot of ad agencies got it wrong this year because not just auto makers, but most advertisers played on emotion. For some including Nissan, Nationwide, and Dove, there was more emotion than the look on Richard Sherman’s face when Malcom Butler picked off Russell Wilson.
On to the ads.
It would take an immense amount of effort to prove that VW was not telling the truth in their latest Super Bowl commercial.
First you would have to pool registration data from dozens of different countries within the US, EU, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
That’s one tall order. To even make that remotely possible, you would have to get the data from the various states within those countries. Quite a few of them would likely have a hard time even coming up with data that is easily downloadable.
As for verification of mileage? Good luck with that! Even in the U.S. of A., not all states require emission and registration checks that verify the mileage.
So let’s remove probability altogether from VW’s Superbowl proclamation, and deal with the cold hard facts related to the wholesale side of this business.
Sergio Marchionne and crew surprised everybody by using the Super Bowl to premiere a long form ad (below) for the new Maserati Ghibli. One might question the wisdom of using the “big game” to promote a niche brand, but Sergio says he wants to sell 50,000 Maseratis a year and the Ghibli, which starts at ~$65,000, is a big part of that plan, so putting the entry level Maser in front of the biggest tv audience of the year makes some sense. The thing is that the ad is one of those that’s heavy on the stirring dramatic and philosophical voiceover and not quite so product intensive. You don’t get to see the actual car until more than a minute into the 90 second spot and then it flashes on screen for less than 10 seconds. The Ghibli site and configurator apparently crashed earlier under Super Bowl levels of traffic, but as of the middle of the third quarter of the game, it’s up and running. In case it crashes again, and you’d like to see what the Ghibli looks like, you’re in luck.
Our Managing Editor is losing sleep over the imminent collapse of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand images due to their upcoming sub-$30,000 models. When you are finished with your 27th viewing of Benz’s sneak peek at their Super Bowl ad above, let’s discuss.
Advertising Age, the industry rag read by Mad Men worldwide, found a simple reason for GM first unfriending Facebook, followed by a much bigger whopper, a “No thanks” to Super Bowl advertising. Ad Age says the decision is driven by the simple need to save money.
So what about Chrysler’s halftime ad? You know, the one with a Clint Eastwood who looked like he would die on the set? It did not show up in any of the Edmunds.com rankings. It is neither on the “that ad’s the bomb!” list. Nor is it on the list of ads that bombed. Maybe because Edmunds could not find the car. Car? What car? The ad tried really hard to repeat the “Imported from Detroit” success. Instead, the ad created a lot of controversy. Controversy? The [forbidden word] hit the fan! It might cost Obama the election!
Nah, not those dogs. We are not referring to the cute canines that populated many commercials aired during the Super Bowl last Sunday. We are referring to the dogs that didn’t hunt, we are talking bad ads, bad, bad, bad, baaaaad ones. The worst. Ads imported from Yucksville. Those we make you watch again today.
So what was the best Super Bowl ad yesterday? Edmunds has the answer: It’s the commercial for the Fiat 500.
The alluring advert must have touched the inner submissive in America’s men. They are shown an ad where a dork is slapped around by an (allegedly) Italian beauty with an Abarth tattoo (on her neck,) and they obligingly click it to the top of the charts, without even thinking of hissing: “On your knees, Ffffffffiat.”
Of course, it could also have been American females who had their inner dominatrix tickled.
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- Undead Zed Pretty good write-up. I for one wouldn't mind seeing more two-wheeled content here, but given this is TTAC and not The Truth About Bikes, I doubt we'll get much.
- RHD "Nevertheless, it was dead simple to connect, belts out 1000A..."Actually, a battery, or a booster pack, provides the current that is drawn. It doesn't force its maximum capacity into the starter motor. A 650 Cold Cranking Amp battery won't start a Ford Escort any better than a 325 CCA battery."Belting out 1000A" would fry the components in the circuit in short order.
- SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
- Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
- Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.