It’s not that often that three of my favourite things converge in such a significant way, but The Superbowl is just such an occasion, combining sports, cars and advertising in a way that few other events can.
I haven’t watched all of the car ads from the 2012 game yet. Unlike the locals, we Australians don’t get the ads in our broadcast of the big game. We have to scour the web to see what the various manufacturers are offering. Of the ads I have seen so far, the VW ad was a hit (I love dogs and Star Wars), and high-brow brother Audi’s vampire ad was pretty good, too. Hyundai overwhelmingly underwhelmed with the Turbo Veloster ad and to be honest, I found the reprise of Seinfeld (for Honda’s NSX, which is still a few years away), Motley Crue (for Kia) and Ferris Bueller (for the Honda CR-X) a bit tacky.
The biggest conversation hasn’t been about any of these, though, it’s been about the GM/Ford controversy regarding GM’s Silverado ad, shown below:
An average ad IMHO, but GM will come out as winners on this one because of Ford’s response.
If you haven’t heard about it yet, Ford wrote to NBC ‘demanding’ that the ad be pulled from the Superbowl broadcast. They also presented GM with a cease and desist with regard to commenting negatively about Ford durability. One Aussie newspaper even said they’re ready to sue over it.
All this whining has brought Ford into the Superbowl advertising headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yes, Ford has had the #1 selling vehicle in the US for the last millenium or so with the F150 and yes, they should defend their vehicle’s honor. But I’m not sure that spitting the dummy and acting like a crybaby is the way to go about it. GM’s Joel Ewanick found it all quite amusing, too:
“We stand by our claims in the commercial, that the Silverado is the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickup on the road,” said GM Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick in a press release. “We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away.”
Ford left themselves wide open for that one and Ewanick cleared the fences (please pardon my mixing of multiple sports metaphors).
So what should Ford do?
If I were them, I would have said something about it, but I’d have stopped well short of getting myself in the headlines due to having filled my nappy.
Instead, I’d have whipped my own ad team into action. GM left themselves slightly vulnerable by including a character not seen in the ad, a guy named Dave. Why not make the Silverado guys look misinformed and show Dave living the highlife in his F-150 while his buddies are battling toad plagues back in the wasteland?
Here’s a picture – The tail end of the GM ad is showing on a portable TV. Pan out to show Dave and his Mayan buddies enjoying a few brews at a tailgate party with some pumping music and some pimped out Mayan laydeeez adding some color in the background.
“Joke’s on you, boys…..”
I’m sure it could be made to look great and instead of coming across as a bunch of sookie-lala’s, Ford could take both the high road and the upper hand.
Addendum….. Companies don’t just spend $3million per 30 seconds for Superbowl ad time. They also spend millions just making the ads themselves. They Jerry Seinfelds and Matthew Brodericks of the world don’t work for free, you know.
Fiat saved some money by not producing a new ad for the Superbowl. Instead, they just ran with what is undoubtedly the best car ad of 2011 – the ad for the 500 Abarth:
For the curious, here’s what she says:
What are you looking at, yeh!?
What are you looking at?
Are you undressing me with your eyes?
Poor guy… you can’t help it?
Is your heart beating?
Is your head spinning?
Do you feel lost thinking that I could be yours forever?