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Why Ford Motor Co. Is Again Sitting Out The Super Bowl

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For the third year in a row, Ford Motor Company is sitting out the Super Bowl, choosing not to advertise on what has historically been the biggest, most expensive single event for advertising in the United States. The last time that Ford Motor Company ran ads during the event – Super Bowl number 47 back in 2013 – the automaker ran two ads for the Lincoln luxury brand.

So why is Ford again choosing not to air any advertisements at this year’s big game? As Ford Executive VP of Global Marketing Stephen Odell told Advertising Age: “I’m not saying we won’t ever do it, but at this point it doesn’t make sense.” He went on to add that advertising during the Super Bowl has “worked in the past when we’ve needed a really big bang – lots of attention, lots of focus – on something that perhaps we needed more awareness on,” but that “[Ford’s] awareness numbers on all of our products and our brands are actually ratcheting up pretty quickly. It’s not something we need at this point.”

While television spots and print ads were once far and away the most central components to a brand’s advertising efforts in the United States, times are changing quickly, as digital communication takes on an ever greater role. Mr. Odell told Ad Age: “The days of direct communication – perhaps through TV, as an example – of us telling the public how great we are probably is not as relevant as it was in this country. In markets like Russia [and] Spain, TV is still very important part of the mix, because that’s what people do… they sit and watch the TV as a family group.”

On top of this, there’s the sheer cost of advertising during the Super Bowl to consider. According to The Wall Street Journal, a 30-second TV ad during last year’s Super Bowl event cost about $4.5 million.

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Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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