WeatherTech surprised some observers nine days before Super Bowl XLVIII when it said it had bought 30 seconds of time on TV’s biggest, costliest stage to promote automotive floor mats. But maybe the news shouldn’t have been quite so surprising. Long before WeatherTech came to the big game, Durakon advertised its Duraliner truck-bed protection system during Super Bowl XX, way back in 1986 ("Your Neighbor"). It even ran its 30-second spot twice.
WeatherTech, in any event, had been thinking about buying a slot during the game for three years, CEO and founder David MacNeil said in a statement then. "With our confidence in the improving economy and the reach of over 111 million viewers that the Super Bowl coverage provides, we thought it was the right time to make the investment," he said.
And, without the help of a contest or gimmicks, WeatherTech and Schaumburg, Ill.-based Pinnacle Advertising and Marketing wound up delivering a solid ad. It doesn't explain that WeatherTech uses lasers to create floor mats to precisely fit your vehicle, but it does show the product and implies the possibility of employment for U.S. viewers’ fellow citizens. It speaks to Americans' dreams of an actual Made in America product (rather than a designed-in-America one, like the iPhone).
It's also a commercial, as Ad Age’s ad review noted at the time, that doesn’t look out of place in non-Super Bowl programming like some extravaganzas do. So what’s a floor-mat marketer doing in the Super Bowl? Making a name for itself, that's what. Mr. MacNeil was happy enough with the results to return in 2015 ("America at Work"), 2016 ("Resources"), 2017 ("Tech Team") and 2018, with Pinnacle again in each case.
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