Mercedes Super Bowl Ad: Buy A CLA And We’ll Throw In Kate Upton And Usher

Jalopnik reviews: The latest ad for the Mercedes CLA sedan that was released today is kind of fun, even if it doesn’t showcase too much of what the car can really do. What Mercedes would have you believe is that if you make a deal with the devil (played awesomely here by Willem Dafoe) for the CLA, then you get to date Kate Upton, perform a duet with Usher, get featured on magazine covers all over the world, and be mobbed by throngs of willing young women. Not bad for a front-wheel-drive Mercedes!

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But then our intrepid young lad sees that the CLA, despite its good looks, starts at a mere $29,900, well within his buying range. (Or, let’s be honest, leasing range. This is a Mercedes, after all.) He tells Willem Dafoe thanks but no thanks, and the devil goes off to do devil stuff to other people.

And AdWeek notes: Automaker could reap as much as $16 million in media exposure

With a record eight automotive brands set to air spots in CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII, the battle for hearts and minds will be more heated than ever. But one car company has a distinct advantage over its competition.

According to data from ImageTrack, the advertising/sponsorship monitoring service from IEG Consulting and Kantar Media, Mercedes-Benz will win the day, thanks in large part to a naming rights deal that will keep the brand on the lips of CBS Sports broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.

Per ImageTrack estimates, New Orleans’ iconic sports venue, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, will garner the automaker around 6 minutes and 19 seconds of exposure during the game broadcast. This assessment does not take into consideration pre- and post-game coverage.

Based on the ImageTrack’s methodology for calculating the value of incidental exposure, the 379 seconds of on-screen shots and mentions from the booth works out to a value of roughly $4.6 million. Toss in a 60-second spot for the 2014 CLA Coupe and the total value of Mercedes’ media exposure works out to around $12.2 million.

If the 90-second version of the CLA spot airs on Sunday—while the final duration has yet to be determined, the ad will air in the fourth quarter—the total media exposure will be worth a cool $16 million.

“Most of the exposure will be a result of verbal mentions,” said Jim Andrews, svp, content strategy, IEG, adding that the classic overhead blimp shots will also provide an additional visual push. (Unlike Ford Field in Detroit, which has its sponsor’s logo emblazoned across its roof, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome rooftop signage is somewhat understated.)

Four illuminated “Mercedes-Benz Superdome” signs are also positioned on the building’s four sides

(Next year, when Fox broadcasts Super Bowl XLVIII from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.—the first cold-weather venue in the game’s storied history—the value of the media exposure should go through the roof. Literally. The facility is configured in such a way that the insurance company’s logo will be visible in the vast majority of aerial and indoor shots.)

Andrews added that CBS is likely to give Mercedes a little more attention, thanks to its in-game buy. “The networks tend to play favorites,” Andrews said. “You’re much more likely to get mentions if you also buy a spot or two within the game itself.”

Of course, Mercedes is already garnering a lot of attention for its Satanically entertaining creative, which features actor Willem Dafoe as Old Scratch and cameos from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton and R&B standout Usher. (That the company licensed the Rolling Stones’ timeless “Sympathy for the Devil” adds even more spice to the mix. Conservative estimates put the cost of such usage at around $1.5 million.)

The ad was created by Merkley + Partners and New York director Dante Ariola.

What’s particularly interesting about Mercedes’ Super Bowl buy is that the CLA Coupe won’t roll out onto dealer lots until September.

“Usually an automaker will begin this sort of awareness campaign in the summer, or around 90 days before the car is released,” said Andrews. “But seven months out? They’re going to have to plan a lot of activity in that expanded time frame if they want to keep people talking.”

In another break from tradition, the CLA Coupe is a decidedly budget-friendly model, with a starting MSRP of just $29,900. Compare that to Mercedes’ S-Class Sedan, which boasts a base sticker price of around $92,350.

“This is more of a mass-market vehicle than a high-end brand,” Andrews said. “The idea is to hit more of a mass audience, to appeal to a younger, less affluent consumer than those targeted by the S-Class.”

Meanwhile, the other seven Super Bowl auto sponsors expect to make some noise of their own. With a 30-second spot for the Forte set to air in the third quarter and a 60-second Sorento ad primed for the fourth quarter, Kia has invested an estimated $11.4 million in media. Toyota, Lincoln, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Audi are all in for $7.6 million a pop, while Chrysler has not confirmed its investment.