- Chrysler debuted two commercials during the 2013 Super Bowl.
- Danica Patrick's "The Kiss" for GoDaddy sent Twitter aflutter.
- Nine auto brands paid about $3.8 million each for 30 seconds to appear in the advertising arena's most coveted stage.
NEW ORLEANS — Chrysler completed a quarterback sneak, scoring two commercials during the 2013 Super Bowl, that took viewers' minds off of a controversial kiss hosted by Danica Patrick.
Jeep's "Whole Again" treated half-time viewers to a stirring letter read by Oprah Winfrey reminding the men and women serving in the armed forces that Americans thank them for their service and eagerly await their return home to enjoy life's simple pleasures again.
It's the only "A" Northwestern University's Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review gave to an automaker.
Nine auto brands scooped up the coveted Super Bowl spots, which cost about $3.8 million for a 30-second commercial, with the consensus being that the Ravens weren't the only winners in the 2013 Super Bowl. Perhaps more than anything in recent memory, automakers' appearances at the 2013 Super Bowl underscored the industry's comeback.
Nielsen estimates an audience of 111 million watched the Baltimore Ravens triumph over the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Ram Truck surprised viewers in the fourth quarter with Chrysler's second ode, this time to the American farmer, inspired by a 30-year-old tribute, "So God Made a Farmer," by famed radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, who died in 2009.
Using still photographs from 10 noted photographers, including National Geographic icon William Albert Allard and documentary photographer Kurt Markus, to show American farm life, the images capture the determination and hard work synonymous with the brand's Guts, Glory, Ram campaign.
It won the 3rd most-loved spot behind Taco Bell and Doritos in Brand Bowl 2013, an advertising review that tracks real-time traffic on Twitter during the game.
USA Today's Ad Meter also put it in 3rd place behind Budweiser's baby Clydesdale ad and Tide's "Joe Montana" spot.
"For the past two years, we have used the largest television viewing audience to highlight the pride, the resilience and the determination that form an integral part of the American character," said Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC, in a statement. "Both the Jeep and Ram Truck brands' campaign videos express Chrysler Group's commitment to America and to helping build a better future for this great country."
The pair clearly set themselves above any of the other advertisements, said Tim O'Day, executive director of the Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communications at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. O'Day, a veteran advertising executive, has helped clients decide whether a Super Bowl ad was worth the investment and how to read the impact.
"Both of them were swinging for the fences," he told Edmunds late Sunday. "What a great goal to attempt and clearly, they succeeded."
If social media was any indication, Danica Patrick's "The Kiss" for GoDaddy should receive a penalty. Patrick watched as Bar Refaeli, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and Victoria's Secret angel, and a tech nerd kissed. The ad hammered home the idea that "where sexy meets smart, your business scores."
Many Twitter users mentioned putting off snacking on their Super Bowl buffets after that hit airwaves, followed by one Tweet pointing out, "Gross? Yes, but everyone is talking about it."
Kellogg's Super Bowl Review gave it a "D," while a second GoDaddy spot, featuring Patrick as a pilot, earned a "C" grade. The auto racer has appeared in 12 Super Bowl ads since 2007, more than any other celebrity.
A winner in terms of immediate interest was Hyundai, which aired five commercials, including "Pick Your Team." It shows a young boy and his mother gathering a group of strong, even heroic friends in the redesigned Santa Fe to take on a group of bullies playing football at a local park.
After it aired, Edmunds saw a 738 percent increase in traffic to pages about the seven-seat version of the SUV.
Besides the GoDaddy commercials, Lincoln's two ads were another disappointment, O'Day said. Because Ford has made a career out of boasting they were avoiding Super Bowl advertising in previous years, the industry had high expectations for their return to the limelight. He questioned comedian Jimmy Fallon's absence from the final ad, after Fallon publicly solicited Tweets related to driving to help write the ad.
Furthermore, he points out the second commercial that's introducing the world to a vibrant new Lincoln MKZ that begins with video of a vintage Lincoln.
"Why remind them of the car your dad or grandpa drove if you're targeting a younger group?" O'Day asked.
Kellogg's review gave it a "D." However, Lincoln scored well, according to Edmunds' analysis of the night.
Another crowd pleaser was Audi's 60-second spot right after kickoff showing a dateless boy driving his father's 2013 Audi S6 to his prom. The excitement of the car inspires him to kiss the prom queen, get socked in the eye and yet he believes it's worth it.
Audi used the "crowd sourcing" method of advertising, offering three endings on YouTube weeks before the game and then allowing fans to vote for their favorite.
"Audi is trying to engage people to make the ad more memorable," said Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing, who led the Kellogg review. "It works."
The review gave it a "B," as it did the Mercedes-Benz new CLA sedan commercial starring model Kate Upton, Usher and Willem Dafoe as the pointy-fingernailed devil. Mercedes teased the ad with a buxom Upton "washing" the CLA in slow motion to burlesque music. Edmunds declared the CLA commercial the winner in its analysis.
Calkins believes the buzz Volkswagen generated before the Super Bowl — releasing the "Get Happy" video early, allowing media outlets to create "Making of" stories of it, and the subsequent controversy of what critics said had "racist" overtones — helped its popularity.
"Given the world today, I think getting ahead and creating your own buzz is probably the better approach, rather than Chrysler's element of surprise or Audi's 'Let's engage folks' approach," Calkins said.
Brand Bowl 2013 agrees. It declared VW the overall winner because it generated nearly 87,000 Tweets, most of which were positive.
Kia and Toyota chose comedy to highlight their autos. In Hot Bots, Kia has former Miss U.S.A. Alyssa Campanella using her wedgie-giving powers to help a sloppy reporter "respect the tech" on the 2014 Kia Forte, while a dad lies about where babies come from to his son while driving a 2014 Sorento.
Toyota pokes fun at an overweight 2013 Toyota RAV4-driving dad with the help of Kaley Cuoco, star of CBS's The Big Bang Theory, who grants wishes. Toyota, which also sponsored the post-game show, used crowd sourcing like Audi. It gave fans a chance for their picture to appear in the Toyota Super Bowl commercial, which they submitted via Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #wishgranted. The winning picture seems to appear on a cell phone during the "astronaut" wish.
The biggest loser was General Motors, which sat on the Super Bowl sidelines this year, only sponsoring the pre-game show, Calkins said. "It's really hard to ignore the Super Bowl if you are a big brand or you have big news to talk about," he said.
University of Michigan's O'Day agrees. "They have a beautiful new 2014 Corvette Stingray (and) the redesigned Silverado. Why aren't they in the Super Bowl?" he asked. "Even though General Motors wasn't in the game, I am encouraged by the ads being put out by the auto industry," O'Day added. "The auto industry as a category has really raised the bar for advertising. It's great to see them taking such interesting risks."
Edmunds says: Car companies threw some Hail Mary passes at the 2013 Super Bowl. Will their risks translate to sales?