I admit it: I hate football. However, I love watching the Super Bowl. Why? The commercials. In fact, my all-time favorite commercial is Budweiser's croaking frogs. I can't tell you who played when that commercial aired, but I still remember the commercial in vivid detail.
That's the thing about the Super Bowl. Because of the sheer number of people that tune in -- both to watch the game and to watch the commercials -- Super Bowl ads, if done correctly, increase brand recognition and drive purchase interest. For auto manufacturers, especially those releasing new models, this is a big deal. So, here are six car companies spending millions on Super Bowl ads in 2014, and a look at how you can profit.
Spend big or go home
In 2013, Daimler's (NASDAQOTH:DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz spent big on its Super Bowl "Soul" commercial featuring its all-new CLA. Further, according to research firm Communicus, this ad built significant purchase interest. While we can't say exactly how many sales that interest translated to, we do know that in 2013, Mercedes sold 14,113 CLAs. Considering the CLA was only released for sale in the U.S. in September, that's an impressive figure. Moreover, the CLA helped Mercedes win the title of best-selling luxury brand for 2013.
When you consider the above scenario, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of car companies willing to pony up the approximately $4 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl ad time. According to Adweek, this year that includes, Tata Motors' (NYSE:TTM) Jaguar, which is making its Super Bowl debut, and featuring its new F-Type coupe, and Hyundai Motors (NASDAQOTH:HYMTF), which purchased two 30-second slots that will feature the Elantra and Genesis. Plus, Hyundai's Kia brand also purchased at least one slot, and it will feature its flagship K900 model.
Of course, that's not all. Volkswagen's (NASDAQOTH:VWAGY) purchased a 60-second slot for its VW brand, as well as a 60-second slot for its Audi brand, which will feature the 2015 Audi A3 sedan. And, last but not least, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is returning to the Super Bowl this year and is rumored to be focusing on a Chevy vehicle.
Does it move you?
Purchasing a Super Bowl ad slot is all well and good, but it's no guarantee of success. In fact, according to Communicus, only one in five Super Bowl ads actually sells products. So what's the secret to success? Communicus says that it's "stepping out of the formula." In addition to Mercedes' commercial, Jeep and Chrysler Ram were also successful at building purchase intent with their 2013 Super Bowl commercials, and they did so by telling a story beyond the typical "buy this car" ad.
More specifically, Mercedes highlighted the allure of a luxury vehicle and the high life, but then threw in affordability, with the punch line being you don't have to sell your soul to get what you want. Jeep went patriotic and told the story of a deployed soldier finally returning home to make the family whole. And, Chrysler Ram showed America's deep need for farmers, along with the impact they have on others. In other words, all of these ads went beyond the typical "vehicle highlights ad" and connected on a more emotional level.
Additionally, these successes were similar to 2012's successes, which saw Kia's "A Dream Car for Real Life" and Acura's "Transactions" as the top sellers of the auto commercials.
What to watch
Clearly, commercials that highlight a specific product aren't enough to drive sales. As such, when you're watching the Super Bowl one thing to watch when it comes to commercials is its emotional impact on you. Does it move you in some way? If it does, then there's a good chance that it's also affecting others. This could translate to sales. Consequently, when you see the above six car companies' commercials, ask yourself if one appeals to you on a non-traditional, emotional level. If it does, then that company could merit further analysis if you're looking for your next great auto stock.