Chrysler, VW lead auto ads on Super Bowl

NEW YORK: A Chrysler commercial featuring rapper Eminem and a light-hearted Volkswagen advertisement triumphed on Super Bowl Sunday, as the annual battle of the brands turned into an all-out marketing blitz by automakers.

A science-fiction-themed ad for Motorola's new Xoom tablet computer was among the other spots praised by several marketing experts who watched this year's Super Bowl, along with 100 million or so other Americans. Another popular spot came from E*Trade Financial Corp and featured its popular spokesbaby getting measured by his tailor Enzo, “the artiste behind my wardrobe.”

Hardly a commercial break passed without an ad from the automotive industry, including those by Mercedes-Benz, a unit of Daimler AG, BMW, Hyundai Motor Co, Kia Motors Corp, Audi and General Motors Co, which sat out the last two Super Bowls.

Standing out from the parade of auto commercials, Chrysler Group LLC ran a rare two-minute ad that showed a gritty, tough, proud Detroit. “What does a town that has been to Hell and back know about the finer things in life?” the narrator asks. “Well, I'll tell you, more than most.”

Sweeping views of the city joggers, soaring skyscrapers, ice skaters, as well as bleak landscapes follow until the ad winds up with Detroit native and rapper Eminem standing on a stage with a gospel choir, declaring, “This is the Motor City and this is what we do.”

Volkswagen AG hit a far different note with its equally well-received spot called “The Force.” In the light-hearted commercial, a boy dressed as Darth Vader believes he used the mythical “Star Wars” force to start his dad's Passat.

“Volkswagen did really well, a nice creative build that ends with a good positioning of the brand,” said Prof Derek Rucker of the Kellogg School of Management, who oversees a Super Bowl advertising review. “Given the number of car companies, this could be a big coup for them.”

As usual, plenty of celebrities popped up in commercials during Super Bowl XLV on Fox Broadcasting, a division of News Corp, which charged US$2.8mil to US$3mil for 30-second spots.

Teen sensation Justin Bieber and veteran rocker Ozzy Osbourne made perhaps the oddest coupling in a spot from Best Buy, in which Osbourne is confused by the technology he's promoting. Osbourne seems equally mystified by the identity of his co-star, offering the punchline, “What's a Bieber?”

Other appearances included Kenny G, the jazz musician, jamming on his saxophone during an Audi ad set in a luxury prison; race car driver Danica Patrick and fitness guru Jillian Michaels showing off their legs for Go Daddy, the web site for domain names; and actor Adrien Brody singing to a roomful of women, but paying the most attention to a pint of Stella.

Building on its success from last year's spot featuring Betty White, candy company Mars turned to comics Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis for a 30-second Snickers spot on Sunday called “Logging.”

In the ad, Lewis is transformed from a whiner who refuses to work on a logging crew into a bearded, hulking mountainman prepared to chop trees and roll logs all thanks to a Snickers bar. Barr is an afterthought, appearing in a slapstick moment at the end when a log knocks her onto the ground. - Reuters Latest business news from AP-Wire

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