Are you ready for Super Bowl 2016? How about the commercials? Super Bowl ads are interesting because these are commercials that people actually want to see. While television viewers typically loathe ads and take measures to avoid them, many people watch the Super Bowl every year just to see the commercials. But do these very expensive ads actually inspire consumers to buy specific products?
The Super Bowl and the Automotive Industry
Typically, only larger companies can afford the millions of dollars that it takes to produce and run a 30 or 60 second ad during the Big Game, and automakers have traditionally had a significant Super Bowl presence. This is a bold maneuver when you consider what market research has shown. Yes, people tend to be entertained by Super Bowl commercials, and they do talk about them. However, as Jeri Smith of Marketing Insights points out, being entertained and being swayed towards purchase intent are two very different things.
Car makers spend huge amounts of money to run ads during these highly sought-after time slots, so they must be at least somewhat confident in the value of these commercials. But purchasing a vehicle isn't the same as buying a certain candy bar or brand of soft drink. It requires a big investment on the part of the consumer. Are buyers really willing to base their car buying decisions on ads they see while watching a football game? They might be. Dodge and Kia have experienced notable success.
Speaking of Kia, it has recently been announced that Christopher Walken will star in Kia Motors' 60-second Super Bowl 2016 commercial. Walken is an incredibly well-known actor who has appeared in over 100 movies and television shows, so this is an ad that will definitely get plenty of buzz. But will it really pay off for Kia in the final analysis?
In this campaign, it can certainly be argued that Kia has used sound logic. The commercial is titled "Walken Closet" and will promote the all-new 2016 Optima midsize sedan. It has been revealed that the ad's purpose is to "spotlight the next-generation Optima as the vibrant alternative for those determined not to blend in."
They couldn't have chosen a better celebrity to deliver this message. Christopher Walken appeals to members of every generation. For younger buyers, his presence may very well spark interest in a car belonging to a class of vehicles that isn't exactly known for inspiring excitement. According to Car and Driver, Kia's 2015 Super Bowl commercial starring Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan, made the Sorrento look "classy and up to the task at hand."
The 2016 Round-Up
Of course, Kia won't be the only auto manufacturer vying for your business during this year's Big Game. Several brands have put up their millions in order to briefly grab your attention and (possibly) have an impact on your next automobile purchase.
- Acura: They have not had a Super Bowl commercial since their 2012 spot with Jerry Seinfeld, but the company is returning this year with a high-voltage ad featuring the new NSX supercar and an iconic Van Halen soundtrack. The commercial will run during the first quarter of the game, and the company is offering a social media sweepstakes as part of the promotion. And it should be noted that Acura is one of the first brands to use Twitter Conversational Video to launch a Super Bowl Spot.
- Buick: They sat out in 2015, but will return this year with a commercial for the Cascada convertible. This will be a 30-second spot starring New York Giants receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. and actress, Emily Ratajkowski.
- Honda: This is another company that opted to not run a 2015 Super Bowl spot. However, Honda is slated to return with an ad promoting the 2017 Ridgeline pickup truck with a 60-second ad. There is no word yet about whether or not celebrities will be featured.
- Hyundai: Though they have frequently advertised during the Big Game, this is Hyundai's first year as an official NFL sponsor. And with this title comes a lot of exposure for the company. They will run two 30-second spots during the first half, one 60-second spot ahead of kickoff and an additional 60-second ad during the pregame show. Well-known actor Ryan Reynolds will make an appearance, and the brand has reportedly tapped the talents of three all-star directors for the project.
- Mini USA: They have confirmed that they will run a spot during the third quarter. The commercial is part of a campaign called "Defy Labels" and will feature Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, T-Pain, Randy Johnson, Tony Hawk and Harvey Keitel. Before the game, the brand will be releasing six long-form interviews with the stars of the campaign.
- Toyota: This is the company's fourth consecutive year in occupying Super Bowl ad-space. Little is currently known about the 90-second commercial that will promote the new Prius, but there are high expectations in place. This is because Toyota's 2015 Super Bowl spots starring Paralympic snowboarder, Amy Purdy were incredibly well-received by viewers.
Will Christopher Walken convince you that a midsize sedan can be fun and unique? Or, will you be inspired to "Defy Labels" and buy a Mini? Even if these commercials have absolutely no impact on your next car buying decision, it seems like they will at least be worth watching.
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