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News - Super Bowl Ad Breakdown: General Motors Returns to Big Game After 2013 Split

Aug/2013

28

Super Bowl Ad Breakdown: General Motors Returns to Big Game After 2013 Split

 General Motors, the nation’s third-largest advertiser, is set to rejoin the ranks of Super Bowl advertisers after making a dramatic exit from the big event in 2013.

GM’s Chevrolet, typically the brand in the auto company’s portfolio that gets the main share of the Super Bowl spotlight, will launch 12 new cars and trucks in the U.S. between mid-2013 and the end of 2014, offering a good reason for an appearance in the highest-watched sports program of the year.

A GM spokeswoman declined to specify how much ad time the automaker had purchased for Fox’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.  Fox broadcast network has been seeking around $4 million for a 30-second ad in the game, according to ad buyers and other executives familiar with negotiations.

“The timing of Super Bowl XLVIII lines up perfectly with our aggressive car and truck launch plans,” said Tim Mahoney, Global Chief Marketing Officer of GM’s Chevrolet, said in a statement. “The Super Bowl is a great stage for showcasing the Chevrolet brand and our newest cars and trucks.”

That’s not how GM’s motor hummed in the months leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. Joel Ewanick, then Global Chief Marketing Officer of General Motors, publicly railed against the extreme cost of advertising in the game.

“We understand the reach the Super Bowl provides,” he said in a statement in May of 2012, “But with the significant increase in price, we simply can’t justify the expense.” CBS, which broadcast the 2013 Super Bowl, sought an average of $3.7 million to $3.8 million for a 30-second Super Bowl spot, compared with the $3.5 million NBC wanted in 2012.

Heading into the fall of 2013, the attitude regarding these costs seems different. GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney noted that the timing of last February’s game did not coincide with major vehicle launches. In 2014, she said, the Super Bowl broadcast will “match up perfectly with this barrage of new products that we will be sending to dealerships.”

General Motors is likely to be just one of many car advertisers in the Big Game. Over the past three years, car makers have emerged as perhaps the biggest supporters of the event, more than company giants such as Anheuser Busch, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. In 2013, Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury, Hyundai, Kia, Chrysler, Audi of America, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen all ran at least one commercial during the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl ad watchers may want to keep their eyes focused on Fox Sports 1, the new sports cable network owned by Fox’s parent corporation. As part of its Super Bowl ad sales process, Fox has tried to sell broader ad packages to Super Bowl sponsors and ad time on Fox Sports 1 has been noted by media-buying executives as one of the elements offered to them.

Among the charter sponsors of Fox Sports 1 are Geico, Lincoln Mercury and Pizza Hut. Geico did not return a query about whether it was making a Super Bowl appearance and a Ford spokeswoman was not able to offer immediate comment. A Pizza Hut spokesman said “We do not have Super Bowl advertising plans to announce at this time.”

Regardless of pricing, the eyeballs tuned in to Super Bowl XLVIII are sure to justify the expenditures that GM doles out to be seen in the broadcast, as well as their competitors.

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