Of gears and giggles

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The “Super Bowl” is more than the culmination of the National Football League (NFL) season and one of the most watched televised spectacles in the world (though soccer is by far the more popular global sport ... just sayin'!). It’s also considered the ultimate moment in television advertising – and not just for the price tag, which is a record $3.5 million per 30 second slot this year. (Whooooo daddy!)

For this is moment when advertising agencies and their clients alike pull out all the creative stops and try to come up with something that not only captures the imagination of TV viewers during the game, but then goes “viral” on the Internet … getting watched (and talked about) over and over again via Youtube, Facebook, etc.

That’s what happened to Volkswagen and Chrysler last year, whose Super Bowl ads not only made a big splash during last year’s matchup between Green Bay and Pittsburgh, but ended the year two of the highest rates advertisements for all of 2011.

[You can read more about those two “insta-classics” by clicking here. You can also view the new "Star Wars" themed commercial Volkswagen whipped up for this year’s Super Bowl below …]

This year, Honda is hoping similar lighting strikes not once but twice for its car brands. The first involves a destined-to-be classic riff on that great cinematic comedy of the mid-1980s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with Matthew Broderick reprising the role that shot him to stardom nearly 30 years ago.

Continuing with the comedy theme, Honda dropped some undoubtedly heavy coin to get the one-and-only Jerry Seinfeld (with the help of Jay Leno, a space alien, the "Soup Nazi," and a Munchkin, among others) to make fun of himself as he attempts to be the very first owner of an Acura NSX “super car” model.

Fellow Japanese automaker Toyota isn’t about to left on the sidelines in the humor campaign this year, though, as it crafted a wry visual take on the concept of “re-invention” for its line of Camry sedans.

However, one car company (actually, a car-making division to be more precise) is taking a decidedly non-funny, gear-head approach to flack its brand this year during the Super Bowl (and beyond, I might add), crafting a series of commercials tracing the development of its newest luxury product.

That would be Cadillac, which is kicking off a paean to its new ATS sedan with what the automaker is calling the “Green Hell” clip – using a documentary-style approach to boot.

But of course, leave it to be a South Korean car maker – Kia, to be exact – to tee up some straight ahead HEAVY METAL for its Super Bowl extravaganza!

[And what a nice touch to make the ubiquitous “Sandman” the fall guy for a dream gone totally … out … of … control! Hahahahahahaha!]

Yes, some pretty engaging TV commercials to be sure. But will those vehicles deliver in real life, in terms of whatever critical measuring sticks – performance, fuel economy, reliability, etc. – are applied to them? We shall see indeed.

Rock on!

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