Automakers score in Super Bowl ads

By The Associated Press

The automotive industry had a strong showing in Super Bowl XLVII as eight car brands blitzed the commercial breaks with 13 game time ads.

Five of those commercials were ranked by USA Today’s Ad Meter in the top 10 and both of Chrysler’s commercials were ranked among the top five.

USA Today ranked Ram’s ode to the American farmer with still photos and legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey third behind Tide’s “Miracle Stain” commercial and Budweiser’s Clydesdale commercial with Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” as the soundtrack.

Chrysler’s two-minute commercial illustrating Jeep’s partnership with the U.S. military that was narrated by talk-show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey was ranked fifth by USA Today after a Doritos commercial.

John Kovac, vice president of consumer marketing for AutoTrader.com said the automotive industry also has a history of using the Super Bowl to energize its marketing campaign and doesn’t often make the mistake of using the big game as a once-and-done opportunity.

That’s important, Kovac said, since Super Bowl commercials cost, on average, almost $4 million for a 30-second spot.

“The automotive manufacturer’s automakers are looking at this as a launch pad,” Kovac said. “Most of them will continue that advertising throughout the year, so they are using it very effectively.”

Every automotive ad that aired during the Super Bowl instantly sparked a surge in search traffic on AutoTrader.com’s Web site, Kovac said.

On AutoTrader’s site, the biggest winners were the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Forte and Kia Sorento. Search activity surged for those models by 1,004 percent, 750 percent and 531 percent respectively, Kovac said.

“It kind of came down to kids, babies and robots,” Kovac said.

Hyundai aired the most commercials with three commercials during the game and two in the final moments before kickoff.

Even Lincoln, whose commercials have been less well-received by analysts, successfully sparked interest among consumers.

Searches for the Lincoln MKZ rose 348 percent after its first commercial ran and 242 percent after its social media ad called “Steer the Script,” aired.

“Lincoln has really been about selling the vehicles themselves. And maybe that’s what worked for them,” said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights for AutoTrader.com.