$150,000 per second. That is what ad time during the Super Bowl costs. At a cool price of $4.5 million for a 30 second spot, it’s no wonder that the vast majority of the commercials during the 2015 Super Bowl were from auto manufacturers. Companies are often able to rectify the considerable cost against the sheer draw of the biggest football game of the year in terms of viewers. However, are these manufacturers simply looking for exposure or are they looking for something that resonates?
The best commercials are meant to inspire the viewer to connect with what is being sold enough to purchase that item. So what creates that connection? Is it tugging at the potential customer’s heartstrings or is it simply relating to a part of the viewer’s personality that has remained untapped? A great advertising spot should draw the target audience in and make them believe that what is being advertised is something they need, want, or simply can’t do without.
When it comes to Super Bowl automotive advertising, do gimmicks work? Are viewers more apt to buy a car from a company that is featuring a super famous actor or one featuring simply the car? Do buyers want to see the performance of the car or an intelligently designed marketing campaign that features a clever gimmick?
With the incredible popularity of Super Bowl commercials, many automotive companies showed up with some incredibly powerful advertising spots. Some of the ads appealed to parents, some were meant to draw in auto enthusiasts, and some inspired an incredibly emotional response.
Nissan’s powerful ad spot detailed the life of an absentee father’s relationship with his son. Some viewers saw the commercial as a subtle nod to Nissan’s commitment to family, while some saw it as a comment on longevity. No matter what the commercial’s intentions, it certainly brought forth a rush of emotions that made an intense connection. Is a simple connection the winning formula for successful advertising?
Toyota’s “With Dad” spot also chose to draw on the emotions of its viewers with an incredible statement about what fatherhood meant. Detailing the lifelong connection between a father and daughter, the commercial ends with a father welling up in pride as his daughter walks into the airport to join the military. Also presumed to be making a connection between the longevity of a father-daughter relationship and the life of a Toyota Camry, the commercial almost certainly created a connection for some viewers.
Kia chose to feature former Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan in their commercial. The commercial was loaded with the actor’s famous sex appeal and classic James Bond movie moments with exploding cabins and snipers, as Brosnan details what he expects from his next movie role. It was so interspersed with gimmicks and action sequences that it was almost unclear what vehicle the commercial was selling, but it begs the question as to whether or not a very famous actor is enough to sell a car.
Chevy’s ad for the Colorado truck was a complete and total success as a sales pitch for their vehicular Wi-Fi services. The commercial begins with a less than stellar television signal, claiming that it would be a clear signal should the viewer have the vehicular hot spot that is part of the new Colorado. Whether a soft pitch for the new Colorado or a hard sell for vehicular Wi-Fi, the commercial certainly made a point.
Toyota’s second ad entitled “How Great I Am” features Renaissance woman Amy Purdy conquering all odds as a female dancer, actor, and snowboarder with two prosthetic legs. With a voice over featuring an inspirational speech given by the incredible Muhammad Ali as Purdy trains, the commercial certainly served as both an inspirational message and a comparison between the undeniable odds Purdy has overcome and the strength of a Toyota vehicle.
BMW’s ad for the I3, their first electric car offering, features uber-perky Katie Couric and charming TV host Bryant Gumbel musing in 1994 about the “internet thing”, and then fast forward’s to today as they try, with the same frustration and confusion, the figure out the technology the makes the I3 possible. It was a cute and clever spot, with a tongue in cheek look at how much technology has advanced over the years.
Perhaps the most memorable of the automotive commercials during this year’s Super Bowl was the offering from Fiat. Featuring a randy Italian man, down to his last “little blue pill”, the Fiat ad shows the man, on the brink of a moment with his wife, losing his last pill. The pill then bounces across a gorgeous Italian cityscape and into the gas tank of a standard Fiat, creating the Fiat 500, tagged to be better and more powerful. While verging on the edge of inappropriate, this is certainly the 2015 commercial darling, as viewers are still talking about it.
It’s difficult to gauge the value of the dollar spent on Super Bowl advertising, in terms of sales for automotive companies, but if the goal is to create a memorable television spot, most companies succeeded. Whether or not any of the ads were worth the $4.5 million price tag remains to be seen for most car brands, but did they entertain? What was the favorite?