Toyota has decided to sit on the sidelines during Super Bowl LI. They are the first major automaker to go public with their plans. Ads for the 2017 Super Bowl, on Fox, will cost between $5 and $5.5 million, a staggering amount for a single advertisement. Last year’s ads sold for approximately $5 million. Lexus isn’t saying what its advertising plans are at this point.
Toyota isn’t the first big automaker to take a pass on the big show. Ford hasn’t advertised in the Super Bowl since 2013.
According to Advertising Age, seven carmakers spent a total of about $90 million for nine minutes of ads in Super Bowl 50. The biggest spenders were Hyundai and Kia, which spent about $20 million. Hyundai also signed a deal with the NFL last year so it could use the NFL logos. Supposedly that arrangement is costing $50 million for four years.
As exorbitant as those figures sound, spending by the automakers, in the Super Bowl, was down compared to previous years.
For 2015’s game, or Super Bowl XLIX, six auto manufacturers spent $96.8 million to air 11 minutes of commercials. In 2014, nine car companies spent a whopping $113 million.
Just because auto companies may decide to punt on the big game, it doesn’t mean they are pulling back from football. Ford is finding a strong audience with ads during college football games and play-off games.
Ford also announced at the start of the NFL season, that the Ford F series is starting a 3-year stint as the official truck of the NFL. To celebrate the new partnership, Ford is also joining forces with Uber, providing a special fleet of F series super duty trucks that can be ordered for tailgating. The super duty truck is a bigger, more rugged version of the F-150. The trucks are usually F-250s.
Toyota is still very visible in the NFL with ads on “Sunday Night Football” and “Monday Night Football”. Toyota also sponsors the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks.
Chevrolet also advertises extensively during college and NFL games.
It is too early to know which auto companies or brands will decide to run ads in the 2017 Super Bowl. Fiat Chrysler has been in for at least the last four. It is an opportunity to reach a huge audience, but at more than $10 million a minute, it is a very expensive gamble.