Mercedes-Benz premiered its Super Bowl ad for the AMG GT sports car -- an edgy take on the fabled tortoise vs. hare race -- on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Monday.
Mercedes tried to set up the premise and drum up anticipation with several teaser videos, which it posted on YouTube and began airing on TV on Jan. 18, the day of the NFL's Conference Championship games.
This is the second time Ms. DeGeneres has debuted a Super Bowl spot on her show, a spokeswoman said. Last year, DeGeneres unveiled a Beats headphones commercial she starred in.
Automakers are turning to popular TV shows to launch their ads. In addition to Mercedes, BMW unveiled its electric i3 commercial this morning on NBC's "Today."
Nearly 70 Super Bowl ads or teasers have been posted on YouTube so far, up 55% from the year-earlier period.
Super Bowl content on YouTube has been watched more than 44 million times through Jan. 24, a 25% increase from 2014 at this point. That adds up to more than 70 million minutes of viewing time, almost tripling last year's views at this juncture.
To tie into Mercedes' "The Big Race" storyline, two "Ellen" audience members competed in "The Mercedes Race Around the Benz." The contestants wore tortoise and hare costumes and dashed around an obstacle course where, at one point, they rode big-wheel tricycles.
"Marketers that approach the Super Bowl thinking it's only about a television commercial are missing half of the purpose," said Drew Slaven, VP-marketing for Mercedes-Benz, in an interview last week. "The other half lies with all of the buildup that goes into getting people tied to what it is you're ultimately going to talk about inside that game."
Nissan YouTube teaser success
With less than a week before the Super Bowl, Nissan is leading the pregame teaser battle on YouTube.
The automaker enlisted seven YouTube content creators with entrenched followings to put their own twists on Nissan's #withdad Super Bowl theme.
In prankster Roman Atwood's top-trending YouTube video for Nissan, which has been viewed more than 18 million times, he turned his home into a giant ball pit.
Of all of the Super Bowl-related content uploaded to YouTube thus far, just 8% have been the actual game day commercials, according to the site.
~ Vince Bond Jr. is a reporter for Automotive News ~