L2T Blog

Super Bowl Ads & Auto Manufacturers

on February 10, 2016

Traditional advertising spend hits a peak every February as $5 million 30-second spots light up our TVs during the Super Bowl game. A price that has increased 75% since 2005 and generated a staggering $2.19 billion in sales. But with all of that money at stake, and the largest TV viewership in America, don’t you think the ads would be a bit more…non-awful? My personal theory for Super Bowl advertising is just this: make it so awful that it goes viral. If you think I’m wrong, just look at search volume for Mountain Dew & the Kickstart Energy Drink after its… interesting… Super Bowl appearance with “PuppyMonkeyBaby”.

Although I’m skeptical, as a marketer I have to accept that ad consumption and methods will change as time passes. So to get over this hump and provide some automotive insight to our followers and customers, my colleague Diane and I have channeled our inner John Madden for some play-by-play commercial commentary of the auto ads shown during Super Bowl 50. After all, nine brands brought a total of nine minutes of entertainment.

Stephen – “Better” – Hyundai

Initial thought – I highly doubt that kid knows how many moons Saturn has.
This ad comes to me with a frown in execution but a smile in messaging. The slogan “better is the engine that drives us” is really what Hyundai is driving here. The symbolism of endurance and high quality of the chest-engine is what the automaker is telling its audience. Although I did enjoy the message, I had to think to myself: an engine on the chest, huh? That’s the shining beacon for your brand?

Diane – “First Date” – Hyundai

This Hyundai Genesis ad ranked tops on many Super Bowl ad rankings. It also created controversy because of its creepy “parent-watching-daughter’s date” story line. Either way, it’s getting tons of views and attention, being selected number one on USAToday’s very popular Ad Meter.

Stephen – “Walken Closet” – Kia

Initial thought – an all-beige walk in closet? Ew.
This ad, similar to Hyundai, is also a frown in the execution but a smile in the message. Christopher Walken’s speech to Richard about his stagnant choice in beige socks highlights the stigma of being ordinary, and being devoured by the extraordinary. What is really missed by execution here is showcasing the Kia Optima– why is Kia not beige? Just because you drive a Kia Optima doesn’t mean you’ll be extraordinary. However, what really pleased me with this commercial is the question: “do you want to be devoured, Richard?” It’s when a fear appeal meets a comedy appeal. Does it really work? Who knows, but I threw out all of my beige socks.

Diane – “Ryanville” – Hyundai

Who doesn’t love Ryan Reynolds? And this ad is full of Ryan Reynolds appearances. It ranked high on USAToday’s evaluation, however, I don’t think it did a good job of brand recognition – I can tell you that Ryan Reynolds was in the ad, but nothing at all about the Hyundai Elantra. But are you surprised by that?

Stephen & Diane – “The Longest Chase” – Toyota

This commercial was one we both chose independently. Overall, we both agree that Toyota did a great job with creating strong brand recognition for the Prius 4, while showcasing its endurance, maneuverability and speed (?). The branding that this commercial accomplished was better than any of the auto brands. Kudos to you, Toyota, for branding the Prius 4 and for shooting in Chicago!

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Super Bowl Ads & Auto Manufacturers