Super Bowl XLIV—Will the auto industry carry the day?

The 2010 Super Bowl may or may not be a good football game, but there will be a whole bunch of automotive commercials to watch. Here are the six manufacturers who will be advertising on this year’s extravaganza: 150w, 1024w, 1197w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

With 2009 behind us it will be fascinating to watch what each brand does with their piece of the most expensive advertising real estate in the world. The Super Bowl represents an incredible opportunity to reach the biggest television audience of the year.  Brands that have used the opportunity well, have in some cases changed their fortunes…Apple’s introduction of the Mac comes to mind:

Here’s the challenge with the Super Bowl.  The Super Bowl is not just the game that decides the NFL champion, it has become the crucible in which winners and losers are defined in the advertising business. USAToday will not only report who won the game, they rank the advertising gladiators. There’s a lot at stake for the agencies and their clients.

From the agencies’ perspective there is no bigger showcase for their work.  If your commercial is deemed one of the best then you have a happy client and a terrific new business credential.  If your commercial is among the worst then you have a client who wonders if they just wasted $3,000,000 and as an agency you’re embarrassed in front of your peers.

It will be interesting to see which of the six automotive manufacturers capitalizes on the the opportunity presented by the Super Bowl.  Which one will communicate something interesting and brand defining to the millions of people watching in a way that sends them running to their computers to watch it again on YouTube. Imagine if we had had the internet in 1984, we would have overwhelmed YouTube with requests for Apple’s 1984.

I hope this happens, the auto industry should be doing the kind of work that demands attention and gets people talking.  We market some of the most interesting and engaging products in the the world and yet the automotive advertising in the United States is so predictable.

So who will it be?  Who will do something big, bold and unexpected? Audi has done a respectable job in past Superbowls.  VW will be showing its first work from Deutsch.  In Europe, Honda’s work has been amazing (Cog and Hate Something, Change Something). Hyundai’s Assurance Program has certainly been a marketing coup for the company but the advertising will not carry the day in the Superbowl. Perhaps it will be Wieden’s first work for Dodge.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of the auto manufacturers will amaze us.

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