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Radio Can Provide Opportunity For Automakers Sitting Out This Year’s Super Bowl.


The majority of automakers will sit out this year’s Super Bowl, citing economic concerns and supply issues.


Supply issues were also prevalent last year, however several brands still spent the big bucks to have a presence during the Big Game. Many, including Kia, BMW, General Motors, and WV startup Polestar, used the opportunity in 2022 to hype their electric vehicle lines.


Even as EV sales continue to rise, it seems many automakers will bench any ad plans for the Feb. 12 NFL finale between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.


“Clients are being very cautious about how much they spend,” an anonymous ad exec told AdAge. “Does it make sense to frontload the year with a big Super Bowl ad? Probably not.”


According to AdAge, only Kia has confirmed an ad buy on Fox during the Super Bowl, although the advertising trade publication says more automakers will likely come on board as the game nears.


Toyota, which ran ads in 2022, is sitting out the Super Bowl for the first time since 2017, saying “this year’s timing did not align for our brand.” The automaker says “every year we evaluate this advertising opportunity to support upcoming product launches or key Toyota moments.”


BMW and Nissan, while not regular Super Bowl advertisers but ones that did run ads last year, confirmed that they will not be part of Super Bowl LVII. Polestar is also not returning, while GM has not confirmed their plans for this year’s must-see TV sporting event.


The high price for a Super Bowl ad – reportedly $7 million for a 30-second spot – has many car makers hedging their bets.


“Auto manufacturers are still working through supply shortages, and big Super Bowl ads aren't needed to drum up interest for vehicles that are still in short supply,” Jessica Caldwell, Executive Director of Insights at Edmunds told AdAge.


A top advertising category for the radio industry, automakers would see more bang for their buck on broadcast radio.


Based on last year’s reported cost of $6.5 million for a 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl, Inside Radio calculated what an advertiser would get on the radio for the price of a fleeting moment when a portion of the TV audience is making a run to the bathroom or filling up on food and drinks until the action resumes.


For $2.5 million, or about 40% of the cost of a 2022 Super Bowl TV ad, a brand could buy a monthlong network radio campaign and reach 65% of the country’s 258.3 million 18+ population or 168 million adults. The advertiser would save $4 million by skipping the Super Bowl and reach 74% more people. For $5 million, they could buy two months of network radio and reach double the number that would see the Super Bowl ad, according to Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard. For the price of one TV ad “you could get quite a campaign,” Bouvard told Inside Radio.


If the $6.5 million were invested in spot radio, the campaign could span multiple touchpoints, including valuable DJ endorsements and tactics like roadblocks and takeovers. A $6.5 million budget “would fund a multi-week, multi-market national spot campaign that could be geo-targeted, demo-targeted and utilize the original social influencers – local DJs that have tremendous on-air and social followings,” said Christine Travaglini, President of rep firm Katz Radio Group.

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