Ford Motor Co. will advertise in the Super Bowl next week for the first time in three years.
The automaker previewed its 90-second commercial for dealers during Saturday's National Automotive Dealers Association meeting. The minute-and-a-half-long spot is expected to air between the coin toss and opening kickoff between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons on Feb 5.
That commercial pod has become increasingly valued by marketers in recent years in particular, as what was once considered a pre-game slot has turned out to capture viewers' attention at least as much as later inventory. Last year's most popular Super Bowl spot, at least by the lights of the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter, was Hyundai's "First Date." Both USA Today and Ad Age have expanded their definitions of a Super Bowl ad to include spots after the coin toss instead of only spots after kickoff.
Ford ran a commercial, using James Franco and Rob Riggle to promote the Fusion, in the same pre-kick pod in 2014.
The marketer hasn't run an in-game spot for the Ford brand after the kickoff since "Easy Being Green," a second-quarter ad by JWT, in 2006. It did air a pair of ads for luxury brand Lincoln in the 2013 game ("Phoenix," "Steer the Script").
Ford's 2016 commercial will not focus on products. Instead, it will tell a story of how the automaker can help make peoples' lives better with its technology and new mobility services, according to sources who saw the spot.
Ford sponsors the Fox Sports NFL pregame show, and used the partnership to unveil the freshened F-150 just before kickoff of a playoff game earlier in January.
Following Saturday's meeting, Stephen Odell, Ford's global head of marketing sales and service, would not confirm the automaker would air a commercial, but a Ford spokeswoman later said the automaker would have "more to say next week."
Michael Martinez is a reporter for Automotive News. Portions contributed by Ad Age staff.