GM’s decision not to advertise during 2013 Super Bowl raises skepticism

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 28, 2012

The decision of General Motors last week regarding not to advertise during the Super Bowl in 2013 has been puzzling in several ways. The automaker's official reason on its Big Game pass is that the advertising rates have risen too high. But this seemed questionable. CBS reportedly is looking for a 25-percent rise on its rate for a 30-second spot to as high as $4 million.

If the automaker would concur with the price increase, it would be investing about $5 million more than it shelled out on the Super Bowl in 2011 if it re-upped for five 30-second spots next year. The additional expense would only be 0.001% of the automaker's worldwide advertising spending from last year. The skepticism arises as to why dismiss what had been one's highest-profile advertising platform just to put a limit on ad rates.

In addition, the automaker would only be weeks away from the debut of its revamped pickup truck units by Super Bowl Sunday. These vehicle models would begin one of the company's busiest launch schedules in years.

The sports event should be a good opportunity to advertise the automaker's new Silverado unit, which underwent seven years in the making. During the game for this year, Chevy held 90 seconds worth of spots for its Sonic subcompact, presumably costing about $10 million.

Another reason why GM's Big Game pass is confusing because the automaker's Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick is fond of big-event marketing. For one, he introduced the Chevy Cruze and the "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign in 2010 during the World Series. The forthcoming Cadillac ATS campaign will begin during the Olympics.

Passing on the biggest event of the year is just contradicting to these activities. These days, the Super Bowl advertising gets more buzz than before. In the past, car manufacturers would utilize YouTube several weeks or days prior to the game in order to stoke media coverage.

Furthermore, the post-game analysis of the commercials is more extensive than before. Also, the decision to let go the Super Bowl will fester. The automaker would have to endure weeks of coverage of competitors' plans while it's demoted to a one-paragraph mention on how the automaker is passing the Big Game.

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