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How to Score Before and After the Big Game

by Shaun Kehrberg, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Digital Advertising

It’s that time of year again. The NFL’s Super Bowl is frequently the most watched American television broadcast yearly. And it’s not just about the game. Super Bowl advertisements are a cultural phenomenon of their own.


This year, according to Sports Business Daily, advertisers are paying upwards of $4 million for one 30-second spot during the game.  Seem like too much? Guess again.  Prior to Thanksgiving, Fox had already sold out of commercial spots, more than 8 weeks before the big game! According to Fox Sports media group executive Neal Mulcahy, “…advertisers are convinced the Super Bowl commercials have a good return on investment, despite the high prices.” In addition, Fox is also selling digital commercials for their live stream of the game, expected to draw an additional 20 million viewers.

Just like in years’ past, the automotive industry will be well-represented during this year’s game. General Motors is back after sitting out last year and will be joined by regular OEM participants Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia, among others.


Auto manufacturers have figured it out. The Super Bowl is the perfect event to measure the immediate impact of their advertising. (For the latest information on what advertising is planned this year check out Ad Week’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker)

The chart below from last year’s Super Bowl tells the story. Notice the huge increase in VIN views for Model X across Cobalt’s Tier 3 network immediately after the car was featured in one of the more popular in-game spots?

Every year we see the same thing; national brand advertising has an immediate impact on the intensity of online car-shopping activity. An event like the Super Bowl is an ideal example. Overall nation-wide shopping activity increased by 40-fold during and immediately after the advertisement relative to the volume observed immediately before the event. As the chart shows, dealers who ran OEM-aligned digital advertising reaped the biggest reward. Not only did they see a larger immediate spike in traffic when compared to those dealers who had not aligned their advertising with the OEM campaign, they also experienced twice the on-going traffic later that evening. This makes sense. Regardless of what sites shoppers visited during and after the game, they were more likely to see brand-aligned retargeting ads from dealers that can connect them directly with their store and inventory.


Long Term Strategy = Long Term Results

The automotive industry has a long history of using the Super Bowl to energize its brand marketing campaigns, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that the big game is a one-and-done opportunity. Ads during the Super Bowl are “launch pads” for campaigns that will run all year and drive traffic all year (much like the water cooler chatter around the Super Bowl commercials extends the life of those campaigns).


In addition, Super Bowl campaigns are just a slice of the BILLION dollar budgets automotive manufacturers allocate every year on advertising to inspire your local customers. Upcoming events like the Oscars and the NCAA “March Madness” tournament are great opportunities for dealers to benefit from the lift of a large national viewing audience. Another bonus this year, the 2014 Winter Olympics are just around the corner and NBC has announced that BMW and GM are signed up to be the exclusive auto advertisers during all broadcasts of the games.


Don’t wait another day! Contact your advertising partner today to learn more about how to leverage your OEMs special offers and increased awareness created during this year’s Super Bowl (2/2), Winter Olympics (2/7 – 2/23), Oscars (3/2), and March Madness (3/18 – 4/7).


About the Author

Shaun Kehrberg is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Digital Advertising at Cobalt. He is focused on helping dealers understand the power of today’s advertising technology and the collective value of the Cobalt digital marketing experience. Shaun can be reached at 206.219.8203 or

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