Super Bowl LI advertising: Mercedes-Benz and Audi are in, but BMW is out

Article by Christian A., on January 16, 2017

Less than three weeks to go and the Super Bowl LI – one of the most awaited and most watched sports events in television – will commence on February 5, 2017. Of course, there are numerous people raring to watch this event on live TV, mainly for three reasons. First of the reasons is the sports itself while the second one is half time show. Of course, people also watch the Big Game because of the commercial ads.

For the 2017 iteration of the Super Bowl LI, a number of companies have already confirmed that they have purchased ad slots during the live broadcast of the game. These companies include several carmakers, including German premium auto companies Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But, for the second year in a row, BMW will be missing the Super Bowl.

Audi secured a 60-second spot for the Super Bowl 50 in 2016. The ad “Commander” -- created by Venables Bell & Partners – brought to the spotlight a retired astronaut who was able to find excitement once again after receiving a new Audi R8 from his son. Audi also launched a campaign in 2014 with the ad "Doberhuahua."

Mercedes-Benz is returning to the Super Bowl this year after its absence in 2016. Its last commercial ad at the Big Game was aired during the Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. The ad “Fable” is Mercedes’ take on the race between the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise eventually won the race – and the hare’s girlfriend -- with the help of the new Mercedes-AMG GT S.

According to Trudy Hardy, Vice President of Marketing at BMW of North America, the premium carmaker will skip this year’s Super Bowl since the timing wasn’t right as the German company has just unveiled the new BMW 5 Series at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. BMW, however, will push for the 5 Series in other ways surrounding the Big Game.

Other carmakers that have been confirmed to have purchased ad spots for the Super Bowl LI include Lexus, Kia, Honda and Buick.

The live broadcast of the Super Bowl is seen as a big opportunity for companies to flaunt their products and services. This is primarily because of the wide reach of the game, with more than 100 million viewers tuning in to their TVs during the game. In 2016, the Super Bowl LI had an average of 111.86 million US viewers, with a peak of 167 million audiences. The Super Bowl 50 in 2015 held the record for the most watched Super Bowl, with an average US viewership of 114.4 million. In addition, Super Bowl ads from previous editions of the Big Game are still being recalled today.

However, the cost of Super Bowl ads isn’t cheap. In 2015 and 2016, a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl cost around $4.5 million and $5 million, respectively.

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