Cars.com, an online automotive-ads site that is a division of Classified Ventures, said it will kick off -- no pun intended, we're sure -- its 2008 marketing campaign by advertising on Super Bowl XLII. The game is set to air on News Corp.'s Fox network on Feb. 3, 2008.
Price nears $3 million
Fox has been seeking as much as $2.7 million for a 30-second spot in next year's game, according to a person familiar with the situation. Prices for commercial time in the contest tend to vary widely, with marketers who make last-minute decisions to purchase Super Bowl time able to secure space for a relative steal. It's also well known that ads appearing after the halftime show are typically not as valuable as spots that appear in the first half of the game. Top prices are usually paid by marketers such as movie studios, who want to ensure their spots get prime placement.
Small advertisers often use Super Bowl advertising as a way to make waves and gain publicity. Among those marketers who used the NFL championship to stand out are GoDaddy.com, which showed ads featuring models in outlandish situations, or Diamond Foods's Emerald Nuts, which showed a cerebral ad starring singer Robert Goulet in the last Super Bowl.
Cars.com will run two ads in the game, one in the first quarter and another in the third quarter, said Carolyn Crafts, Cars.com's VP-marketing. OMD, the Omnicom Group media-buying firm, negotiated the placement, she said. She declined to comment on the price of the ads.
For Cars.com, advertising in the pigskin contest is viewed as a means to spark more attention to the company's services. "We are making a significant investment to move the Cars.com brand forward and draw even more new and used car shoppers to the site in 2008," Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com, said in a prepared statement.
Jacking its spend
The company said it intends to increase its ad spend by more than 50% in 2008, with a national ad campaign that will run throughout the year. Classified Ventures is owned by Belo, Gannett Co., McClatchy Co., Tribune Co. and Washington Post Co.
Cars.com may be seizing an opportunity to drum up publicity -- the company will announce the creative execution of its Super Bowl ads at a later date, a move marketers often use to generate more interest closer to the game. But others have already signed up. Anheuser-Busch, a perennial Super Bowl advertiser, is on board as well, having purchased four minutes of ad time in the coming game.
As a bonus this year, Fox has offered advertisers the chance to place their ads on corporate sibling MySpace, and the network will run on-air promotions during the game that will urge viewers to visit MySpace. Advertisers will be able to offer different perks to those who watch the ads online, including coupons, links to other websites or the chance to see movie trailers.