When you tune into Super Bowl 58 in February, you won’t see Will Ferrell, Dr. Evil, or any of the characters General Motors has created for commercials in recent years. The automaker is stepping away from Big Game advertising, according to a recent report from Ad Age.
A specific reason isn’t mentioned for the change of course. A GM spokesperson confirmed the decision with Motor1, stating the company “continually evaluates our media strategies to ensure they align with our business priorities.”
It’s no secret that advertising during the Super Bowl is extremely expensive. A 30-second commercial from last season’s game clocked an average price of $7 million, according to Forbes. GM ran a 60-second spot during Super Bowl 57, and then you have the cost of filming, editing, special effects (we’re assuming a GMC Sierra EV Denali didn’t actually drive through a horde of zombies), and paychecks for the stars in the mini-movie. We don’t know what Will Ferrell’s cut is, but the airtime alone for that spot was likely around $14 million.
If you want to cut some fat from the ad budget – especially after a lengthy UAW strike that cut into profits – this is certainly a viable solution. And that could be the case here. GM Authority reminds us a new chief marketing officer was hired over the summer, supplanting the individual who greenlit Big Game ads for the past three years.
Furthermore, those ads were all about pushing GM’s evolution into the electric world, starting with Cadillac (and Will Ferrell) in 2021. 2022 saw the automaker reboot Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movie franchise, bringing in Mike Meyers, Rob Lowe, Seth Green, and Mindy Sterling to reprise their characters. With sales suggesting buyers are cooling a bit on EVs, such investments into advertising may not be as attractive as they were previously.
Will GM launch any kind of ad campaign independently around the time of the game? The automaker has no comment on that possibility, but we’ve seen some brands take advantage of the hype by dropping commercials online during Super Bowl week. And there’s always the possibility of a last-minute change of heart. Jeep surprised everyone with a Groundhog Day spoof in 2020, bringing together Bill Murray and original cast members for a commercial just two weeks before the game.
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