The Super Bowl. It’s the biggest stage of the year, not just for athletes, but for advertisers as well. Indeed, for many viewers, the ads that run during the game now outweigh the game itself in terms of sheer spectacle and grandiosity. Each and every year, brands attempt to outdo one another with their advertisements.
In no sector is this more evident than the automotive one. In fact, automotive Super Bowl ads can easily be recalled as some of the best of all time. From Jeep’s “Snow Covered” spot to the more recent “Imported from Detroit” and “Halftime in America” Chrysler campaigns, there’s no denying that the Super Bowl has played host to some of the greatest car ads of all time, and there are no signs that this year will be any different. With that in mind, we’ve curated a list of what to expect from some of the world’s biggest automakers when they have a chance to flaunt it all on February 2 for Super Bowl XLVIII.
The German luxury marque will be showcasing the 2015 Audi A3 sedan in a long-form 60-second spot produced by San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners. This sedan is designed to compete with Mercedes’ new CLA and is priced at under $30,000 before extra options are added on. While details of the spot are still under wraps, it will debut online shortly before the game. Audi has used this strategy in the past to great effect, most notably with its “Prom” and “Vampire Party” ads, which received almost 50 percent of their overall views from online traffic before the game itself.
After taking a short break from Super Bowl advertising in 2013 due to the enormous cost associated with it, General Motors will return in force this year. The company’s return to the Big Game coincides perfectly with the oncoming launch of 12 cars and trucks over the course of the next year. No details are available regarding GM’s spots or the number it has purchased, but the return of such a big name is newsworthy in and of itself. Odds are good that the recently unveiled Corvette Stingray convertible will make an appearance in at least one of the ads.
“Luxury” is not a word traditionally associated with the Kia brand. However, as part of an attempt to make the brand more upscale, Kia will be using the Super Bowl to launch its new flagship sedan in America. The sedan was initially introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is expected to hit dealerships in the first quarter of 2014. The car, named the K900, is a rear-wheel-drive sedan with a base price of roughly $50,000 — a price that can easily be exceeded, judging by the options list. Although the company has been primarily known for making Korean econoboxes over the years, it’s hoping to follow Hyundai, which has successfully differentiated its product line over the last several years to include a luxury car, the Equus, and a proper sports coupe, the Genesis.
In a drastic shift from previous advertisements, Hyundai will offer up a celebrity-laden spot for this year’s Super Bowl. The South Korean automaker has typically avoided using celebrities in its ads out of a desire to differentiate itself from its competitors, but decided this year that they had two ad treatments that were too good to pass up and happened to involve several stars. The first ad, which will air during the first quarter, features the automaker’s luxury Genesis car, which is on the brink of being relaunched next year. This ad will focus on a family dynamic and the safety provided by the car’s advanced luxury features. The second ad will air during the fourth quarter and will feature a group of hitherto unnamed stars in two Hyundai Elantras distracting one another as they face progressively more difficult road conditions that border on the ridiculous. These ads represent a change in direction for Hyundai’s advertising and will certainly provide fodder for discussion.
Britain’s most famous luxury marque will be presenting a 30-second spot that highlights its new F-Type Coupe during the third quarter of the Big Game. As part of its continuing 21st century brand revitalization, which has seen the automaker’s image transform from that of a golfer’s luxury barge to that of an aggressive, powerful sports company that also happens to emphasize luxury, the commercial will seek to position Jaguar as a villainously sexy foreign option seeking to disrupt the ho-hum world of the American luxury market. It will feature a bevy of famed British actors and be directed by Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper, who took home the Oscar for Best Director following his 2011 hit, “The King’s Speech.”
The world’s largest automaker will be using the Super Bowl to debut the latest iteration of its popular Highlander mid-sized crossover. The Highlander has been completely redesigned for the 2015 model year and will be arriving in American dealerships some time in January, a scant several days before the Super Bowl. The content of the 60-second spot remains a mystery, but it is known that the ad will incorporate another major brand as a partner.