Honda is coming back to the 2016 Super Bowl after sitting out this year's game. The auto brand will plug its all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline truck in a 60-second spot by RPA in the third quarter of the Feb. 7 game.
"The big game is the largest and most coveted stage to show the world that Honda is back in a big way with an all-new Ridgeline truck," Jeff Conrad, senior VP and general manager of the Honda Automobile Division, said in a statement.
Honda will run its Super Bowl spot for the 2017 Ridgeline after debuting the vehicle at January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The truck will launch nationally in the first half of 2016. Truck and SUV sales continue to fuel auto industry growth, helped by low gas prices. Honda stated in its Super Bowl announcement that it is "on track to earn a new all-time record for light truck sales in 2015, with sales up 11.8% to nearly 600,000 units through the end of November."
Honda last advertised in the Super Bowl in 2014 with a spot called "Hugfest," also by RPA, that promoted safety using a humorous approach that starred Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen.
Earlier this month the Honda Motor Co.-owned Acura brand announced it was returning to the Super Bowl after a four-year absence with a spot that will feature the NSX supercar, which begins shipping this spring. The other automakers that have announced 2016 Super Bowl ad buys are Hyundai and Kia. Several automakers have yet to clarify their Super Bowl intentions, including Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Ford and GM sat out the 2015 game, while Fiat Chrysler ran ads for its Fiat, Dodge and Jeep brands. Other 2015 advertisers were BMW, Toyota (including one for Lexus), Nissan, Kia and Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes has confirmed that it won't return for the 2016 Super Bowl. Likewise, Jaguar -- which ran its first-ever Super Bowl ad in 2014, but sat out 2015 -- is not expected to run an ad in Super Bowl 50, the brand told Ad Age earlier this year.
The 2015 Super Bowl ad auto buys were down from 2014 when 11 nameplates ran ads and the auto category accounted for over one-fourth of the total ad time in the game, according to Kantar Media.