A couple of days ago, we mentioned that Volkswagen would return to the Superbowl advertising arena after a nine-year absence with a new, 30-second spot highlighting the full range of VW vehicles. A handful of other brands will seen during the game -- including Honda, Hyundai, and VW's brash sister, Audi -- but only one will hail from Detroit. According to CNN, Chrysler is the sole member of the Big Three signed up for Superbowl airtime, and it's apparently going big: the company will focus the whole of its resources on a 60-second spot for the Dodge Charger.
Some in the auto media have come out against the ad buy, which is sure to exorbitantly expensive. (Figures haven't been released, but if this year's average price for a 30-second spot is $2.5 million...well, you can do the math.) They argue that the public will see the Superbowl ad as one more waste of bailout dough, not unlike Chrysler's infamously stupid "Thank you, America" ads in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal . In short, critics insist that Chrysler is wagering the farm, when the company ought to be hedging its bets.
We're not entirely sure we side with those critics. True, we might've opted for a couple of 30-second spots instead of one big one, but we don't have a problem with advertising in general. Any marketing professional will tell you that the biggest mistake companies make when money is tight is cutting their ad budgets. Chrysler needs to spend -- and as we've mentioned before, Chrysler dealers are pressuring the company to run more product-oriented ads. The Superbowl spot may not have the same payout as many smaller ads run in prime time would, but it's a product-specific ad in a high-profile slot, and it's centered on one of the company's best-respected cars. In other words: the company could do better, but it could also do far worse. This way, Chrysler keeps dealers happy, and if our instincts are correct (a 50/50 shot), the public may not pay much attention to the pricetag.