by Michael Dickens
Viewers who tuned into the Super Bowl XLIX broadcast on NBC saw less automotive advertising clutter. A year ago, there were nine automakers showing commercials for 11 brands, using 25% of the ad space on television’s biggest stage. This year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was one of only six automakers, showcasing seven different brands.
FCA used the Super Bowl to celebrate three significant brand events: the global launch of the newest Fiat, Dodge’s 100th anniversary milestone, and the 2015 Jeep Renegade. Each, created in partnership with Dallas-based The Richards Group, broke from recent Chrysler and Fiat Super Bowl creative approaches. This year, there was light-hearted humor and irreverence as well as an authentic story about freedom of adventure.
Following the custom of recent years, FCA remained tight-lipped about its Super Bowl advertising plans. Last Thursday, the company, which has spent an estimated $89.5 million on Super Bowl ads since 2010 (exceeded only by Anheuser Busch), announced it would air three commercials during the game — the same as last year — and when they would appear during the Super Bowl broadcast.
Absent were several automakers who often advertise during the Super Bowl, including Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen. According to various media sources, automakers who opted out decided to skip the game for reasons that included not launching a new car model at this time, which made the timing of advertising in Super Bowl XLIX less desirable. This year, a 30-second Super Bowl commercial was expected to cost as much as $4.5 million, and FCA bought a total of three and a half minutes of to promote its broadcasts.
While other automotive advertisers released their strategies in advance through aggressive social media campaigns (and some even previewed their ads via the internet, taking away any element of surprise), FCA’s secrecy suggested the automaker would attempt to recapture the advertising pizazz it has become critically acclaimed for during recent years, when it featured rapper Eminem (“Born of Fire”), actor/director Clint Eastwood (“Halftime in America”), legendary folk/rock singer Bob Dylan (“American Pride”) and voice-overs by TV host/actress Oprah Winfrey and the late radio broadcaster Paul Harvey in advertisements that have been so compelling they’ve garnered America’s attention and were remembered long after they were first aired.
As it turned out, there were some different, interesting twists that captured individual brand personalities, even if there were no familiar or iconic names and faces to pitch them.
This year, the first spot, for the 2016 Fiat 500X crossover, aired during the two-minute warning near the conclusion of the first half. The other two (for Dodge and the Jeep Renegade) ran during the third quarter of the Super Bowl broadcast.
Olivier Francois wrote, “FCA US always strives to do something different, something unexpected yet with a purpose, for the largest television audience of the year, and this year’s Super Bowl videos are no exception.”
by David Zatz
USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter gave FCA US three of the top 15 spots, including #1 in the automotive category for “The Fiat 500X Blue Pill” (which was #3 overall).
Dodge’s “Wisdom” the #6 position overall, and the #2 spot in automobiles; and Jeep®’s “Beautiful Lands” placed #15 overall and #5 in autos.
In 2014, Chrysler’s “America's Import,” with Bob Dylan, placed #12 overall in the annual poll. In 2013, Ram brand’s “Farmer” took #3 overall and was the top rated in autos, while Jeep’s “Whole Again” took the #5 overall (and #2 in autos.) 2012’s “Halftime in America,” with Clint Eastwood, placed #4 overall, and #2 in autos.
Site traffic for fiatusa.com was up 327%, and since the Super Bowl commercial aired, Fiat has had almost 50,000 social mentions, 95% of which were directly related to the brand's Super Bowl commercial. Fiat 500X traffic increased by 1,829%, albeit from a small start.
Jeep saw site traffic rise 40% (201,000), with 2015 Jeep Renegade traffic up 342% (52,000). Since their ad aired, the Jeep brand has received over 43,000 brand social mentions, 90% of which were related to the Super Bowl commercial.
Dodge traffic rose by 14% to 139,000, with Dodge Challenger traffic specifically up 40% to 42,500. Since its ad, Dodge has generated over 63,000 social mentions, and of scored mentions, 86% were positive.
2014 Super Bowl Ads: Restlessness and Strike2013 Super Bowl ads: Year of the Farmer • Whole Again • Bill Cawthon on the Super Bowl adsAlso see: Imported From Detroit • Halftime in America • Chrysler ads
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