Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Why Chevy, GE, P&G Tout Other Brands in Their Ads


The Super Bowl is always a harbinger of advertising trends to come, and one of the most interesting this year already is fully apparent: More brands want to do more than ever to break into one another’s marketing space, particularly in TV advertisements. The Big Game will bring a healthy sampling of this rising phenomenon.

And we’re not talking about the traditional art of finding ways acceptable to regulators, and to the viewing public, of denigrating competing brands here. The new trend is to use other, non-competing brands to help form an overall context that creates unprecedented sorts of synergies for your brand.

Other examples may pop up during the course of the game broadcast on Sunday, but the most interesting one so far is a General Electric ad at top that spends a lot of time talking about how the company makes turbines that help generate power that help Budweiser brew beer and get it to the local pub. The association lends an extra dose of authenticity to an ad that features interviews with actual GE workers at its Schenectady, N.Y., plant.

“Anheuser-Busch is a longstanding client of ours and they were excited about getting involved,” Andy Goldberg, GE’s director of creative content, told brandchannel. “The main focus on their end was just to make sure their brand was also portrayed in a good light and that it felt natural to their brand and how GE serves it. They saw our previous documentary ads on healthcare and aviation and thought that they were a great storytelling module. At the end they viewed it as a benefit — linking two well-known, classic American brands.”[more]

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble has been teasing out attention to its ads — actually planned for the day after the game for Old Spice. The idea is that Old Spice body spray is so powerful that it can’t even stay within the bounds of its own advertisements, so the Old Spice guy can’t help but show up in ads that start out looking like pitches for other actual new P&G products, such as Charmin Freshmates, a moistened and flushable new type of toilet paper, and Bounce dryer bars.

These were the sorts of twists that GM CMO Joel Ewanick was after a few weeks ago when he fruitlessly searched for ways to “place” Chevrolet or his company’s other brands in the Super Bowl ads of non-competing brands. Apparently he didn’t get very far, and reportedly NBC executives discouraged the experimentation so they could maintain the sanctity of their $3.5-million to $4-million, 30-second slots.

But Ewanick found a back door that he demonstrates in a clever spot for Chevrolet Silverado that will run during the Super Bowl.

In a world where the Mayans’ predictions of 2012 apocalypse come true, a Silverado owner drives out of the rubble to meet other Silverado owners who, of course, uniquely have survived the ravages of the end. On his way to their pre-arranged meeting, he passes a junked statue from the front of a Big Boy restaurant. And when they meet, a fellow survivor is holding a box of Twinkies — a wink at the snack’s reputation as lasting forever. And so, in GM’s humorous spot, do Silverados.

Update: Ford didn’t take too kindly to its brand being trashed in GM’s spot — click here for details.