Automotive advertising mostly sucks… that is until the Super Bowl rolls around and then car makers go bonkers to out-do each other.

UNFORTUNATELY, Super Bowl is American and that means I have almost no idea who the Falcons or the Patriots are. I stopped paying the little bit of attention I paid to US sport when blokes like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan stopped slamming dunks.

The Super Bowl brings out some of the most amazing car ads you’ll ever see and has been responsible for the creation of some truly iconic ads that you just can’t forget… remember the kid dressed as Darth Vader and the Volkswagen Jetta.

Super Bowl Ad from 2011:

Okay, so VW might be on the nose in the US, and other places, at the moment, but that doesn’t stop that ad being genius. So, if the ads can be amazing and memorable during Super Bowl then why are they so rubbish at other times of the year.

Super Bowl Ad from 2017:

Simple. Money and Audience. During Super Bowl, and depending on what you read, either all of America will stop and watch the game, or almost all of it will stop and watch the game. And the ads are designed to be as entertaining as the football itself, and that’s because the spots are so coveted (each 30-second ad in 2016 was priced at US$5million), because so many people watch the game (more than 111million people in the US in 2016).

Super Bowl Ad from 2017:

Car makers want to stand out. Great. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try a little harder the rest of the time. Just take some of the local ads for cars. The only one, in recent memory, that was kind of interesting was the Skoda Octavia anti-ad ad. The problem with that is the ad does nothing to promote how good that car is… it was a missed opportunity.

Skoda Octavia. for those who buy the car, not the ad:

And don’t get me started on the current crop of Holden ads. I get what they’re doing by getting ‘real people’ to drive and comment on the product and agree it’s clever. But I think the ‘real people’ have been nudged in the right direction a little too much. And, of course, they’d hardly have run a comment from someone saying, ‘no, sorry mate, I reckon my Amarok drives better than this Colorado’.

Holden Truck Swap:

Now, I’ve worked with enough media agencies to know that they sell the idea of sizzle to the car company marketing managers, rather than the idea of just selling the steak. That’d be too boring… but, because the budgets for the production of ads is much lower than those showing during the Super Bowl and because they’re meant to be shown on high rotation at all times of the day and night they tend to be a little bit blink and you forget them.

So, the question I’d like to pose is this, if we can’t make cool car ads like they do for the Super Bowl then what’s the best way to advertise cars to an Australian audience? Do you still want the sizzle, or is the steak more important to you? And do you have a favourite TV car ad?


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