Exodus of Auto Brands From Super Bowl XLIX Makes Room For First-Time Advertisers

Car­ni­val, Skit­tles, and oth­er Super Bowl ad rook­ies fill gaps left by auto brands.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Super Bowl XLIX will fea­ture ads from auto brands like BMW, Lexus, Mer­cedes-Benz, Toy­ota, Nis­san and Kia. But, notably, oth­er long­time Super Bowl adver­tis­ers from the auto indus­try have benched them­selves this year. And, in their place, the game will include its first-ever pro­duce, adhe­sive, and toe­nail fun­gus adver­tis­ers, among oth­ers.

Most of new brands adver­tis­ing in the Super Bowl point to reach, pure and sim­ple, as their moti­va­tion behind the big spend, but experts still ques­tion whether this one-time event offers the best bang for their adver­tis­ing buck.

In fact, liken­ing it to the Sher­lock Holmes sto­ry about the dog that didn’t bark, Greg Jar­boe, pres­i­dent of inter­net mar­ket­ing ser­vices firm SEO-PR, says, “The dog not bark­ing at the Super Bowl this year is that Volk­swa­gen is not adver­tis­ing even after hav­ing the top ad a few years ago, which was fol­lowed by Audi, who is not adver­tis­ing. GM pulled out. Ford pulled out. About half a dozen automak­ers who adver­tised in last year’s Super Bowl aren’t adver­tis­ing in it this year.”

This, he notes, has paved the way for new adver­tis­ers.

The key ques­tion is: Did [all of the auto brands] go to the same webi­nar?” Jar­boe said. “What hap­pened?”

He points to experts who have ques­tioned the wis­dom of spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars on TV time “when that bud­get would be gang­busters with an online video cam­paign instead.”

Fur­ther, he sur­mis­es that some auto brands may have sim­ply real­ized they could spend $4.5 mil­lion on region­al adver­tis­ing or play­off game adver­tis­ing that might offer a bet­ter bang for their buck or even move a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of mon­ey into dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing, includ­ing video, he said.

Nev­er­the­less, plen­ty of Super Bowl adver­tis­ers remain. Here’s a look at some of the brands step­ping onto the field for the first time this Sun­day.

Avocados from Mexico

Avo­ca­dos from Mex­i­co, the mar­ket­ing arm of Mex­i­can Hass Avo­ca­do Importers Asso­ci­a­tion, released a teas­er of its #First­DraftEv­er fea­tur­ing for­mer foot­ball play­ers Jer­ry Rice and Doug Flu­tie, and a rhi­noc­er­os.

Avo­ca­dos From Mex­i­co says it will be the first fresh pro­duce brand to broad­cast an ad dur­ing Super Bowl.

In addi­tion, the brand has part­nered with TV host Mario Lopez and his wife on a so-called com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­gram, “No Guac, No Game,” to “illus­trate how great-tast­ing gua­camole is one way to unite a divid­ed house of pas­sion­ate sports fans togeth­er dur­ing the ultra-com­pet­i­tive pro-foot­ball play­offs.” It includes recipes on the Avo­ca­dos from Mex­i­co web­site.


In Decem­ber, cruise line Car­ni­val said it planned to unveil the first TV com­mer­cial from its new mul­ti-brand mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive dur­ing the Super Bowl, which will be its first-ever in the game.

The com­mer­cial was cre­at­ed by BBDO Atlanta.

It will be a 60-sec­ond spot select­ed from the company’s “World’s Lead­ing Cruise Lines Mar­ket­ing Chal­lenge,” which it says gives North Amer­i­can con­sumers the chance to pro­vide Car­ni­val with input on its new cre­ative.

Host­ed by Cedric the Enter­tain­er, the inter­ac­tive crowd­sourc­ing con­test lets con­sumers “join the company’s mar­ket­ing team” and vote for their favorite cre­ative con­cept on WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com, the brand says.

There is no big­ger stage than the Super Bowl for telling our sto­ry, and we’re excit­ed about the oppor­tu­ni­ty to start a new dia­logue with con­sumers about cruis­ing and use their input in help­ing us pick the cre­ative con­cepts,” said Arnold Don­ald, CEO of Car­ni­val, in a state­ment. “With this phase of the mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive, we want to cap­ture what is so spe­cial about cruis­ing and sail­ing in the open sea.”

Car­ni­val has also launched what it calls a Cruise-a-Nal­i­ty tool that helps vaca­tion­ers decide what type of cruise is right for them based on a series of per­son­al­i­ty-focused ques­tions and it is ask­ing con­sumers to tweet what they love about cruis­ing with the hash­tag #Love­Cruis­ing.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Spe­cial­ty phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny Valeant Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals will be adver­tis­ing its Jublia prod­uct for the first time.

Accord­ing to a rep, the brand’s goal with its first Super Bowl spot is “to reach as many con­sumers as pos­si­ble to edu­cate them about the promi­nence of toe­nail fun­gus and abil­i­ty to eas­i­ly treat with the new top­i­cal solu­tion toe­nail fun­gus treat­ment, Jublia.”

Valeant hopes to dri­ve aware­ness of this treat­ment and to encour­age con­sumers to see their der­ma­tol­o­gist or podi­a­trist. In addi­tion, the rep notes an esti­mat­ed 35 mil­lion peo­ple in the U.S., or 1 in 10, suf­fer from toe­nail fun­gus.

With more than 111 mil­lion peo­ple like­ly watch­ing the game that means up to 12 mil­lion of them have the con­di­tion,” the rep said.

What’s more, the rep not­ed the con­di­tion is par­tic­u­lar­ly com­mon with ath­letes “because it thrives in warm, moist envi­ron­ments like sneak­ers and cleats as well as in show­er floors in set­tings such as a lock­er room.”

The ad will not release ear­ly. It will debut dur­ing the third quar­ter.


Adhe­sive and sealant brand Loc­tite says it will become the first-ever adhe­sive brand to adver­tise dur­ing the Super Bowl.

This is a very bold move for Loc­tite, for Adhe­sive Tech­nolo­gies and for Henkel,” said Susanne Cor­nelius, cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent for the con­sumers and crafts­men busi­ness at par­ent Henkel Adhe­sive Tech­nolo­gies, in a state­ment. “So much has been achieved by our efforts for Loctite’s dis­tri­b­u­tion, now is the right time to give con­sumers and cus­tomers a ‘big bang’ expe­ri­ence that will make our brand the top-of-mind choice and dri­ve it fur­ther ahead of com­peti­tors in North Amer­i­ca.”

The full 30-sec­ond spot won’t be released ahead of time. It will air at the begin­ning of the fourth quar­ter.

How­ev­er, the brand says “the high­ly antic­i­pat­ed com­mer­cial will draw on the huge suc­cess of the cur­rent ‘Win at Glue’ cam­paign, call­ing atten­tion that every­one can ‘win’ when using Loc­tite.”

The brand’s YouTube page includes a video with what it calls “the famous Loc­tite Dance,” which has more than 1.3 mil­lion views to date.

In a press release, Henkel says it believes it can dif­fer­en­ti­ate itself from the com­pe­ti­tion with this Super Bowl spot.

So far, the adhe­sive cat­e­go­ry has only been adver­tised in expect­ed places with bor­ing func­tion­al mes­sages,” said Fred Chupin, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing in North Amer­i­ca at Henkel. “This game is where the most excit­ing and inno­v­a­tive brands come to tell their sto­ry on the biggest stage, and we felt that Loc­tite had some­thing unique to say to Amer­i­ca. We know that no one will expect what they will see from Loc­tite on Feb­ru­ary 1.”


Mobile device pow­er and stor­age prod­uct brand Mophie said it would air its first-ever broad­cast com­mer­cial dur­ing the 2015 Super Bowl.

Since its launch, Mophie says it has “expe­ri­enced sub­stan­tial growth and suc­cess despite most­ly organ­ic efforts in con­sumer mar­ket­ing. Now, as momen­tum con­tin­ues to build in the mobile pow­er acces­so­ry cat­e­go­ry, Mophie intends to bring its mes­sage to life in front of the mass­es on adver­tis­ing’s biggest stage.”

In a pre­pared state­ment, CEO Daniel Huang adds, “We’ve accom­plished much on the strength of our prod­ucts and integri­ty of the brand, and now we feel it’s the right time to bold­ly intro­duce our solu­tions to the largest audi­ence pos­si­ble.”

More specif­i­cal­ly, a rep notes it’s all about expand­ing not only brand, but also cat­e­go­ry aware­ness.

It’s a very unique sit­u­a­tion. We’re the cat­e­go­ry leader and a brand that many peo­ple use, yet only 1 out of every 10 peo­ple in focus groups rec­og­nized our name. The mobile-charg­ing cat­e­go­ry has sur­pris­ing­ly low aware­ness in gen­er­al (10 per­cent),” the rep writes in an email. “Our goal in 2015 is to not only con­tin­ue to grow the Mophie brand, but gen­er­ate aware­ness for the entire cat­e­go­ry. Nation­al adver­tis­ing was the next log­i­cal step for us to cre­ate stronger cat­e­go­ry aware­ness while also increas­ing name recog­ni­tion. And in terms of reach, you don’t get much big­ger or broad­er than the Super Bowl.”

The brand released the spot, All-Pow­er­less, on Jan­u­ary 29. It fea­tures “arguably one of the most pow­er­ful and rec­og­niz­able fig­ures in the world” as well as “the likes of two don­keys, a walk­ing dog, a roost­er, hye­nas, var­i­ous types of flight­less birds, and a goat” to “impact­ful­ly express the idea that your world comes apart when your mobile phone runs out of bat­tery,” the rep says.


The Skit­tles brand, too, will be air­ing its first-ever Super Bowl ad and, in a press release, said it will be “cel­e­brat­ing its first offi­cial inclu­sion in The Big Game in a vari­ety of unex­pect­ed ways in the weeks lead­ing up to the Feb. 1 kick­off.”

That includes “acti­vat­ing the part­ner­ship for the first time fol­low­ing a tremen­dous­ly suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ship in 2014 with [run­ning back] Mar­shawn Lynch and the Seat­tle Sea­hawks.”

Say­ing it “couldn’t wait to kick off its first-ever offi­cial Super Bowl sea­son,” the brand host­ed “the most awe­some tail­gate” in the vacant park­ing lot of the site of Super Bowl XLIX near­ly four weeks pri­or to the Super Bowl with for­mer foot­ball play­er Kurt Warn­er.

It also host­ed a faux press con­fer­ence with Lynch.

The brand will run a 30-sec­ond com­mer­cial pro­duced by DDB Chica­go.


Web devel­op­ment plat­form Wix.com is also adver­tis­ing in the Super Bowl for the first time with some help from five for­mer NFL stars: Brett Favre, Ter­rell Owens, Emmitt Smith, Lar­ry Allen and Fran­co Har­ris.

As part of the brand’s #ItsThatEasy cam­paign, these play­ers will “tran­si­tion from their foot­ball days and take a new direc­tion in their careers” and go “from NFL stars to small busi­ness own­ers” and “dis­cov­er the new chal­lenge that they’ve tak­en on is made sig­nif­i­cant­ly eas­i­er with a Wix web­site.”

Run­ning a small busi­ness is no easy feat but it’s also incred­i­bly reward­ing. We want­ed to high­light the fun aspects and how enjoy­able your busi­ness can be when you’re not weighed down. We devel­oped a cam­paign that per­fect­ly fits what Wix is all about: pro­vid­ing small busi­ness­es with pow­er­ful and easy to use tools to design, man­age and grow their online pres­ence,” said CMO Omer Shai in a state­ment. “NFL leg­end or not, any busi­ness own­er should be able to eas­i­ly get their busi­ness online, just the way they want it.”

The brand first teased a clip with Owens and cre­at­ed web­sites for each of the play­ers’ faux busi­ness­es, which even include pur­chasable prod­ucts.

The full spot fol­lowed on Jan­u­ary 27 and has 2.5 mil­lion views to date.

All cre­ative mate­ri­als for the #ItsThatEasy cam­paign are avail­able on a des­ig­nat­ed web­site where con­sumers can “inter­act with the play­ers, their busi­ness­es and Wix in a fun and dynam­ic loca­tion.”

Wix says its Super Bowl spot “will be an instru­men­tal part of a cross-plat­form brand­ing cam­paign geared towards tak­ing the Wix brand to the next lev­el and turn­ing it into a house­hold name.”

Do you think Super Bowl ad dol­lars are still a wise invest­ment ver­sus dig­i­tal?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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