GM becomes the third automaker to publicly confirm plans to advertise in the big game, following Nissan (which is returning after a six-year absence) and Toyota (a Super Bowl regular).
GM’s entry ensures that the game will include at least as many automakers as last year when Stellantis (Jeep), GM and Toyota all ran spots. But last year’s tally of three automakers fell well short of the category’s typical representation. In the 2020 Super Bowl, six automakers consumed a total of seven minutes and 30 seconds of airtime, spending an estimated $77 million on media buys—more than any other category, according to Kantar. The category’s recent high-water mark came in 2018 when 11 auto brands ran ads.
COVID is to blame for the 2021 drop-off as the pandemic forced auto brands to reconsider marketing investment priorities. Decision-making this year is influenced by the microchip shortage that has plagued the industry for months, reducing inventory and causing brands to curtail some ad spending.
Hyundai and Audi, which had been regular Super Bowl advertisers, have both confirmed they will sit out the game for a second straight year.
This year’s wildcards include Stellantis and Kia, which have both yet to confirm plans.