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Originally published Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 9:40 PM

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Auto companies to be biggest Super Bowl advertisers

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.


Bloomberg News

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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.

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.



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