Cadillac Green Hell was most watched Super Bowl car ad

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Cadiallc's ad for the ATS, titled "Green Hell," was the most watched Super Bowl car ad. Photo Credit: AutoViva/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

The auto industry has been the biggest spender on advertising during the Super Bowl for some time, and this year’s game was no different. However, the one that most people watched was “Green Hell,” an ad for the soon-to-be-released Cadillac ATS.

Car makers spend a lot on Super Bowl

The smallest cost involved in the Super Bowl for car makers is giving the game’s MVP a Corvette. Advertising during the Super Bowl is a huge business and one 30-second spot this year, according to MSNBC, cost an average of $3.5 million and between 2002 and 2011, various companies spent $2.5 billion buying ads to air during the game.

A full 10 percent of that, $250 million, was spent by Budweiser alone in that time. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the biggest single business sector buying ads between 2007 and 2011 has been car makers. Car firms spent $172.2 million during that four-year stretch, and in 2011 captured four of the top 10 most-watched ads, according to Nielsen ratings. Previous to 2011, only two car ads had been among the top 10 most watched Super Bowl ads.

Take the green pill

An ad for the Chevrolet Camaro, according to AutoBlog, titled “Miss Evelyn,” was the most-watched commercial during Super Bowl 45 in 2011. In 2012, the ad that took the top honors once again was an ad by General Motors.

Cadillac is in the midst of heavily promoting the ATS sedan, which is going on sale later this year. The ad for the ATS that aired during the game, narrated like other Cadillac commercials by actor Lawrence Fishburne from the “Matrix” films, extolled the car’s rigorous testing at the legendary and infamous Nurburgring in Germany.

As noted in the commercial, and in the video series on Cadillac’s website, the Nurburgring is one of the most challenging environments for a car and the driver. The “Ring” as it is sometimes called, has long been used for Formula One and other race competitions and was labeled by racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart as “The Green Hell” because the track is surrounded by the countryside in West Germany.

Nielsen estimates 111.3 million people in the United States and a total of 1 billion worldwide saw the ad, making it the most-seen television commercial in history. Of course, it was helped by the fact that Cadillac’s ad aired right after the two-minute warning.

May make a difference

Consensus is that Super Bowl ads work. More people bought cars in 2011 than in 2010. Given all the buzz surrounding the ATS, the ad’s popularity certainly doesn’t hurt. The ATS has been purpose-built by Cadillac to punch the BMW 3 series right in the grill, and if the success of the CTS series has been any indicator, it should be up to the task.

[The 3 Series is still a great car, and Houston is a BMW hotbed.]



Wall Street Journal



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