DETROIT – Chevrolet plans to make a big splash during Super Bowl XLVI Feb. 5 with seven television spots, some of which will air before and after the big event, as well as a number of social-media campaigns.
Chris Perry, Chevrolet’s vice president-global marketing and strategy, declines to reveal how much the massive endeavor will cost, but says it will be the brand’s largest marketing expenditure of the year.
Some auto makers refrain from advertising during the event, which attracts an average 110 million viewers but costs several million dollars per 30-second spot.
However, Perry says Chevy has seen a good return on its investment during past Super Bowl campaigns.
“We know from our previous experiences it has not only an immediate, but longer lasting overall impact on the consideration and opinion of our products,” he tells WardsAuto at a media preview of the campaign.
“The Super Bowl is a shared experience by all of America,” Perry says. “It’s the big American stage now, and we’re a big American brand, so we feel we should be there.”
Chevrolet officials here preview several spots promoting key models, including the Sonic B-car, Volt extended-range hybrid-electric vehicle and Camaro sports car.
Ads promoting the Sonic, aimed at Millennial consumers, include one showing insects trying to latch onto the car’s grille before it pulls away. Chevrolet marketing executives say it’s meant to convey the Sonic is fun to drive.
Another features the Sonic performing extreme activities, including bungee jumping, parachuting and a kick-flip, which is a common skateboarding trick.
The spot promoting the Volt is set in a garage, where a owner struggles to explain the vehicle’s unique technology to a group of extraterrestrials. The ad features a voice over by comedian Tim Allen, who says the Volt is the “coolest car on the block, smartest technology in the galaxy.”
Rick Martinek, Chevrolet’s group ad manager, says the commercial plays off a previous ad answering consumer questions about how the Volt works.
The Camaro convertible spot, dubbed “The Happy Grad,” was filmed by the winner of an international contest held by Chevrolet. The ad shows a 20s-something male who mistakes a Camaro as a graduation gift from his parents, overlooking the mini refrigerator with a big red bow sitting next to it.
Martinek says the contest provided the auto maker with unique insight into the global market. It was launched in third-quarter 2011 and drew 198 film entries from 32 countries, all of which were posted on a Chevy website.
To date, the films have been viewed 6.2 million times, with 30% of those coming from outside the U.S.
“As we’re developing a global strategy, we’re looking at how different countries engage differently,” Martinek says, noting Mexico and India accounted for the most number of views outside the U.S.
Chevy’s team has not yet determined which ads will be aired before, during and after the game. That decision has to be made by next Tuesday, a deadline imposed by NBC, which is broadcasting the game.
Chevrolet’s Super Bowl social-media campaign is as expansive as its television strategy.
The brand recently launched an app for the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones promoted in a TV ad shown during last week’s NFL playoff games.
The app features a number of activities, games and trivia, and allows users to qualify to win one of 20 Chevrolet vehicles that will be given away as part of the Super Bowl promotion.
App users are provided with a license-plate number. When the television spots run, each featured vehicle’s plate will be displayed. If the number from the app matches the one on TV, the user wins a car.
The app, Martinek says, is meant “to be fun, not cerebral. It’s not burdensome activities; it’s an enhancement to the whole (Super Bowl) experience.”
Chevrolet also has produced a number of pop-up banners that will appear on websites such as Youtube and Hulu and feature skits by actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office”) directing viewers to Chevrolet’s Web page.
A Facebook promotion is part of the overall package, as well. The promotion is tied into the ad meter sponsored by USAToday, which gauges the popularity of the spots shown on Super Bowl Sunday.
Chevrolet is the official sponsor of the NFL’s Super Bowl website, which features news, photos, videos and a countdown meter to the big game, and the exclusive sponsor of the Super Bowl Twitter feed.
“The Twitter feed is already live,” Martinek says. “Last year, 4.5 million people tweeted about the Super Bowl.”
He says the Super Bowl campaign gives Chevrolet, which “has struggled in the past,” a chance to build on recent momentum.
“Our marketing challenge is to change opinion and consideration of Chevrolet,” Martinek says. “This is a big platform to come out and tout our products.”