At least seven auto brands will advertise during Fox TV’s telecast of the National Football League Championship game Sunday, researcher Kantar Media said, making the industry the biggest sponsor for a third straight year.
Jaguar, the British luxury sports-car brand owned by Tata Motors, plans its first spot ever, while actor James Franco pitches Ford, and Laurence Fishburne appears in spots for Kia and the Muppets ride in a Toyota.
Carmakers are spending as much as $6 million per 30-second spot to grab consumers and promote a bumper crop of new vehicles during the telecast, typically the most-watched TV event of the year in the United States.
The competition among auto ads will be equally fierce, with each trying to one-up the other and dislodge Volkswagen AG’s “The Force,” featuring a kid dressed as Darth Vader. The spot has been seen 59 million times on YouTube and ranks as Edmunds.com’s most memorable Super Bowl auto ad.
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Advertising during last year’s Super Bowl totaled $292 million, according to Kantar Media. Automakers spent $105.4 million before, during and after the contest, a 1.4 percent drop from the prior year. Their ads during the game alone cost $92 million, a fivefold increase from $18 million in 2009, the lowest in the past 10 years. Movie studios and dot-com companies tie for the next-biggest groups.
In addition to paying an average of $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime, Super Bowl commercials can cost about $2 million to make and have a shorter life than a regular campaign, Kantar said.
Fishburne’s Kia spot has him in sunglasses, recalling his role as Morpheus in “The Matrix.”
This year’s Super Bowl, the first played outdoors in a cold-weather city, will set viewership records, Kantar predicted. Regular-season NFL games on Fox set an audience record this season, the company said, while CBS’s broadcast network drew 4 percent more viewers for its games than a year ago. Last year’s game drew 108.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen.