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2018 Super Bowl LII Promises Entertaining Auto Commercials

2018 Super Bowl LII Promises Entertaining Auto Commercials

By Philly Murtha, February 04, 2018
What’s more American than watching the Super Bowl? This year’s NFL championship game, Super Bowl LII, to be televised on Sunday, Feb. 4 on NBC, will feature the Philadelphia Eagles against the defending champ New England Patriots. Catching creative commercials—from auto brands that feature new models being driven by sports or rock stars, a wicked premium halo car that ties in with an upcoming blockbuster superhero movie, or inspirational profiles of life in America and the world—is part of this Sunday’s spectator sport pastime.

So far, five automakers or their brands (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, and Toyota) will pay millions (about $5 million for a 30-second commercial) to air Super Bowl TV spots. Last year, there were eight auto advertisers. After missing 2017’s event, Toyota returns with a hefty campaign that ties in with its sponsorship for the upcoming Winter Olympics and Paralympics that weaves into a future vision of growing into a “mobility” company.

This year, Hyundai also will air a different kind of commercial that focuses on a commitment to its fund that puts money from each vehicle purchase into finding a cure for children’s cancer. In addition, Hyundai will promote its family-friendly 2018 Kona small SUV and Toyota says it will feature models yet unnamed in a commercial.

Of course, there will be spots with sporty cars for enthusiasts—the 2018 Kia Stinger and the 2018 Lexus LC 500 coupe and LS 500 F premium sedan. In addition, FCA revealed on Friday that it will air five “mystery” spots during the Super Bowl, which might feature Jeep SUVs or a Ram pickup.

Taking an alternative approach, Mercedes-Benz will provide a smartphone game contest app during the Super Bowl that rewards the winner with a sporty Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe.

So far, General Motors has not announced any spots and Ford will not advertise. The other German nameplates—Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen—are also on the sidelines. Some automakers and brands are spreading their message by selecting alternative advertising vehicles. For instance, Cadillac brand is a sponsor for the Academy Awards Oscar night and Buick is sponsoring the NCAA March Madness, while the Audi brand partners with TV’s Emmy Awards.

Historically, the automotive industry has spent the most on ad buys during annual Super Bowl broadcasts (since 2010). Last year, Fox’s 2017 broadcast of Super Bowl LI reached 111.3 million people and the auto ad spend was $71.7 million, according to Nielsen. This year, it’s projected that at least 100 million will watch the event, which includes commercials and a half-time performance by singer, songwriter Justin Timberlake, who started “boy band” NSYNC.

A few prospective auto commercials are highlighted:

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)—Mum’s the word, but FCA will drop five commercials during the Super Bowl broadcast that will air during each quarter. Expect something bold. Some of the most memorable commercials in recent history have been produced by FCA, including a commercial “Born of Fire,” with Eminem in Detroit and another spot called “Farmer” with the late Paul Harvey narrating.

Hyundai, an NFL sponsor, will feature its new Kona subcompact or small SUV in a humorous spot called “Ref to the Rescue,” where a ref arrives at a kid’s soccer game in his 2018 Kona and makes wild calls to speed up the game so he and the kids’ parents can get home for the Super Bowl. In addition, Hyundai will air a 60-second spot that mentions vehicle features—such as driver assistance and turbocharged engines, but then focuses on a hidden feature: Hyundai’s non-profit group Hyundai Hope on Wheels that contributes a portion of every Hyundai vehicle sold to help find a cure for childhood cancer. A teaser ad also has been released for a “live surprise” spot after last year’s popular spot that featured live coverage of three soldiers reuniting “live” with their families.

Kia hires rock superstar Steven Tyler of Aerosmith to return to his CGI-enhanced youth “by racing backwards” in a 365-horsepower 2018 Kia Stinger Sportback Sedan on an abandoned race track. In the beginning, he stands on an abandoned race track across from Formula 1 race car legend Emerson Fittipaldi. The 60-second “Feel Something Again” commercial will air during the game’s third quarter featuring Aerosmith’s “Dream On” soundtrack. The commercial streaming on YouTube already has garnered nearly 293,000 views.

Lexus will win accolades at Comic-Con and entice younger consumers with its tie-in to Marvel’s Black Panther movie that reaches theaters next week. Superhero Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, jumps into a 2018 Lexus LC 500 coupe in the film to rev off to a business meeting. In the Super Bowl’s 30-second “Long Live the King” spot that airs during the third quarter of the game, the actor jumps through the sunroof of the LS 500 F Sport premium sedan after transforming into the Marvel Superhero. The soundtrack “Legend Has It” grooves by Run the Jewels.

Mercedes-Benz will attract viewers’ attention during the Super Bowl with a digital game “Last Fan Standing” that is played on smartphones. It’s a contest with an app and the prize is a Mercedes-AMG performance C43 Coupe (retail value of nearly $56,000). Mercedes is running teaser videos on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Participants must register for the streaming video contest on Sunday, Feb. 4.

Toyota comes back to the Super Bowl with its biggest ad purchase—including three commercials in the first quarter, post-half-time, and second half. Using sports to unite and inspire, Toyota promotes its sponsorship of the global Olympics and upcoming Winter Paralympic Games in two spots. In “Good Odds,” a montage bio features Canada’s Paralympic eight-time gold medal ski champion Lauren Woolstencroft. Another spot, “One Team,” from the “Start Your Impossible” campaign, promotes Toyota’s eight-year global sponsorship of the Olympics. A third ad, “Mobility Anthem,” will feature the company’s evolution from a maker of looms into a carmaker moving into the “Mobility field” with emerging technologies that is “car less.”
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