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Super Bowl ads to be heavy on cars, colas, beer

February 1, 2013

Each year within the Super Bowl, Madison Avenue plays an Ad Bowl, as marketers spend large amounts of time and treasure to create commercials that will, they hope, win plaudits and move merchandise. And within each Ad Bowl, two categories of consumer products usually account for a supersize amount of spots: automobiles and beverages. 
Super Bowl XLVII, to be broadcast on Feb. 3 on CBS, is no exception. As sponsors continued to share their plans for the game, it looks as if six automakers — the Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co., the Hyundai Motor Group, Mercedes-Benz USA, Toyota Motor and Volkswagen of America — will advertise eight brands in the game, including Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln and Volkswagen. (, an auto-shopping site, also will advertise.) 
The Super Bowl typically is the most-watched television show each year. It is, commensurately, typically the most expensive ad vehicle each year. For the coming game, CBS charged an estimated $3.7 million to $3.8 million for each 30 seconds of commercial time. As eye-popping as those prices are, all the commercial time in the game has been sold out for weeks. 
The Super Bowl offers marketers “spectacle, huge numbers and an environment in which more people are engaged in the advertising,” said Steve Shannon, vice president for marketing at the Hyundai Motor America unit of the Hyundai Motor Group, which is buying two commercials in the game. 
This will be the sixth consecutive Super Bowl with spots for the Hyundai brand. “A lot of us are there,” Shannon said of the automakers, because “it sells cars.” 
For instance, the two models that Hyundai advertised during the 2012 Super Bowl — the Genesis coupe R-Spec and the Veloster Turbo — “have the shortest-day supply of any of our vehicles,” Shannon said, referring to a widely-followed measure of automotive demand. 
The Super Bowl also is a draw for auto brands because “we can get the year off to a good start,” he added. “In the automotive business, you don’t want to dig yourself a hole early in the year and have to dig out.” 
Hyundai’s Super Bowl XLVII commercials will promote the new seven-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe, in the first quarter, and the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, in the second. 
To take advantage of the increasing willingness of consumers to watch Super Bowl ads before the game in social media like Facebook and share them with friends, the Hyundai commercials were released before the game, Shannon said; each is to run 45 seconds, 15 seconds longer than its in-game counterpart. 
The Super Bowl is “now a social media extravaganza,” he said. “The traffic it drives to automotive websites and our own is, without question, giant.” 
A beverage giant described ad plans similar to Hyundai’s. The Coca-Cola Co.  also is making social media an intrinsic part of its Super Bowl strategy. 
“We want to have a sustained conversation with consumers year-round,” said Pio Schunker, senior vice president for integrated marketing communications at the Coca-Cola North America division of Coca-Cola, and “the scale and size of the Super Bowl” will help “kick-start a really big conversation.” 
The Facebook page for Coca-Cola has been previewing the 60-second Coke commercial that will run in the first half of the game. Other social media, like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube, will be enlisted in promoting the commercial. It offers viewers a chance to vote for one of three thirsty teams — cowboys, showgirls or “badlanders” (motorcycle toughs) — to win a fanciful “Coke Chase” across a desert. 
The winning team is to be revealed in a 30-second commercial to run immediately after the Super Bowl.