Insights Blog

January 29th, 2016

Automotive Ads Dominate the Super Bowl with the Help of Celebrities

Author

Ace Metrix

On Super Bowl Sunday, Acura, Buick, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mini, and Toyota have some large tracks to fill. Since 2010, luxury and non-luxury automotive brands have accounted for 25% of all Super Bowl ads, paving the way for these brands in an uncontested fashion. Automakers are far and away the largest investors in the Super Bowl, and despite Nissan and Mercedes-Benz backing out of Super Bowl 50, we’re seeing signs that trend will continue.

The number of automaker ads has remained relatively constant the last few years, with 12 in 2013, 13 in 2014, and 11 in 2015. For the upcoming game, as of this writing, we know of 7 brands investing in 8 spots, and more may come in over the next week. While there are 11 auto brands with 2 or fewer Super Bowl ads since 2010, in looking at the brands most effective by Ace Score, we chose those with 3+ ads. As the chart below shows, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Jeep have delivered the highest average scores. Chevrolet and Hyundai Non-Luxury have had the biggest Super Bowl presence, running 10 ads each.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 7.50.56 AM

In terms of air time, automotive ads totaled 11 minutes within the 2015 Super Bowl. To put that in perspective, in the same Super Bowl, the three industries closest in ad air time were Technology, Alcoholic Beverages, and General Business, all with under four minutes. What drives automakers to commit massive ad dollars to this event? Is it the opportunity to connect with over 110 million people on an emotional level or to unveil a new model with the unique opportunity for that kind of reach? Is it about showcasing features or telling a story? In looking at the top 20 most effective auto Super Bowl ads since 2010, we see different approaches yield success:

brand

category

air date

score(s)

(SB 14) Dad's Sixth Sense

Hyundai

Luxury Auto

02.02.2014

681

(SB15) Fable

Mercedes Benz

Luxury Auto

02.01.2015

649

(SB15) Official Dodge Wisdom

Dodge

Non-Luxury Auto

02.01.2015

644

(SB 12) It's Halftime America

Chrysler

Non-Luxury Auto

02.05.2012

633

(SB 12) Matthew's Day Off

Honda

Non-Luxury Auto

02.05.2012

630

(SB 13) Soul

Mercedes-Benz

Luxury Auto

02.03.2013

626

(SB15) This Land Is Your Land

Jeep

Non-Luxury Auto

02.01.2015

625

(SB 14) Joy Ride

Toyota

Non-Luxury Auto

02.02.2014

625

(SB15) The Perfect Getaway

Kia

Automotive

02.01.2015

624

(SB 14) Rendezvous

Jaguar

Luxury Auto

02.02.2014

623

(SB 13) Whole Again

Jeep

Non Luxury Auto

02.03.2013

622

(SB 14) The Truth

Kia

Non-Luxury Auto

02.02.2014

621

(SB15) Newfangled Idea

BMW

Luxury Auto

02.01.2015

620

(SB15) One Bold Choice

Toyota

Non-Luxury Auto

02.01.2015

612

(SB 13) Stuck

Hyundai

Non-Luxury Auto

01.28.2013

611

(SB 14) Made Here

Chrysler

Non-Luxury Auto

02.02.2014

609

(SB 13) Space Babies

Kia

Non-Luxury Auto

02.03.2013

604

(SB15) Blue Pill

Fiat

Luxury Auto

02.01.2015

603

(SB11) The Force

Volkswagen

Automotive

02.06.2011

603

(SB 11) Discovery

Chevrolet

Automotive

02.06.2011

602

(SB 11) Miss Evelyn

Chevrolet

Automotive

02.06.2011

602

While some of these ads use humorous approaches and some veer more emotional, it’s the effective use of celebrities to tell a story that appears to drive the strongest performance. Half of these top 20 ads include celebrities. In fact, the automotive category is an anomaly of sorts in that regard, as across all Super Bowl ads those with celebrities don’t perform as well as those with them.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 8.08.04 AM

Our data shows that the auto ads with celebrities are longer in duration and have high breakthrough ability, demonstrated by often having high Attention and Likeability scores. 22 out of the 26 ads we’ve seen since 2010 are :60 or longer. Automakers are taking a risk on celebrities but have found a winning formula of integrating them into an attention-grabbing, likeable story.

Great examples of this are Kia’s “The Perfect Getaway”, Toyota’s “Joy Ride”, and Jaguar’s “Rendezvous.” The Kia ad uses a former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, in an action-adventure movie pitch. Toyota’s “Joy Ride” lives up to it’s name with as a musical romp featuring Terry Crews and the Muppets, and Jaguar’s spot includes some famous British villains and a stylish getaway car. As we see below, these three ads are very similar in personality:

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 7.19.56 AM

Our data bodes well for Buick, Hyundai, Kia, and Mini, who have all announced that celebrities are appearing in their Super Bowl ads this year. We can’t wait to see what they have in store on February 7th.

Check out our infographic, The Changing Landscape of Super Bowl Ads, for more facts about Super Bowl ads. And don’t forget to  follow @Ace_Metrix on Super Bowl Sunday to see how all of this year’s ads perform. 

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