Last year, I asked the same question and I think the answer was “no.”
Audi’s terrific A3 TDI commercial led the automotive pack, ranked 6th of 65 by USAToday but all the others were also-rans. Here’s how the automotive participants ranked in last year’s advertising beauty contest:
A dismal showing by the auto industry. Despite being one of the highest interest product categories with some often fantastic products, we seem to be unable to captivate the Super Bowl audience.
To be clear, getting highly ranked in USAToday’s poll has nothing to do with judging a TV commercial’s effectiveness, it simply is a measure of a panel of consumers’ reactions and “how much they liked each ad.” But it is without question, ‘the game within the game.’ As a Super Bowl advertiser you spend $3MM or so for 30 seconds and the chance to get noticed and liked. It’s an opportunity to get tongues around the world wagging about your ad, your brand and maybe even your products.
But to make that happen, you have to do something amazing. Something funny, something out of the ordinary, something really worth watching and paying attention to. Historically the automotive advertisers have been unwilling to step up to the Super Bowl plate and swing for the fences creatively (to shamelessly incorporate a baseball metaphor into a piece about a football game).
Last year Audi and its agency did a nice job using the “Green Police” to start a conversation about clean diesel technology. Funny, interesting, different and informative got Audi into the top 10.
This year automotive participation is at it highest level in recent memory and perhaps for all time. Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Jeep, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are all participating. Some of the most creative agencies in the business are creating work for the big game: Wieden (Chrysler), Venables Bell and Partners (Audi), Goodby (Chevrolet), David & Goliath (Kia), Deutsch LA (VW).
Great brands, great products, great agencies and lots of consumer interest. Maybe this will be the year that automotive dominates the game within the game with ideas that get people talking.
If not, it won’t be a complete loss; the football game should be great.