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With less than 3 weeks to go ‘til Super Bowl Sunday many automakers have not signed-on to advertise during the big game. The question is why?

Automotive advertising during the Super Bowl has recently become a sort of—if you’re not there, than you’re nowhere—proposition. Internet domain retailers, cola companies and snack foods have dominated Super Bowl advertising “avails” for years! But automakers, which’ve had a love/hate relationship with the big game from the start, have been steadily jumping into the fray. Just a few years ago VW had one of its most successful campaigns ever for its Passat model. We all remember the cute mini Darth-Vader “auto-starting” his dad’s car using nothing but the “force.”

As far back as the late 1970’s, Super Bowl advertising has held a special place in the minds of both consumers and advertisers. Who can forget the Master-Lock commercial showing exactly how secure their locks were by having someone shoot their product with a gun to prove its indestructible nature. How about the Coke-a-Cola ad featuring football superstar Mean-Joe-Green tossing his battle-worn jersey to an unsuspecting fan (after being handed the young lad’s icy cold cola beverage)? And, the campaign that still has legs (no pun intended)…, the Budweiser Clydesdales. These are just a few of the memorable ad’s that kicked-off the “game within the game.” You see, having your product or service shown to millions of viewers—in every demographic—during the most watched TV event of the year was a win-win for everyone.

So what’s the deal with the nonexistence of auto advertisers this year? One reason could be the lack of new products and innovations that car companies have available to advertise. Another reason could be the lack of creative that some ad agencies bring to the fore.

Most automotive marketing agencies are so accustomed to churning out the, “show the car,” “show the price” mentality. The Super Bowl is not really the right venue for that type of marketing. So, some automotive marketers have fallen back on using superstar personalities like Eminem, Clint Eastwood and Matthew McConaughey to help get the job done.

To be clear, not all auto-makers have jumped ship. There are a few companies who’ve already purchased their time. Kia, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota have all signed on and are hoping to stand out in the thinning field of automotive advertisers this year.

The Super Bowl Committee, if they want to profit from giant automakers next year, should consider moving the game to later in the month of February giving agency creative and manufacturers time to create ads that coincide with new products, models and innovations.

For everyone else, there’s always the half-time show, brought to you by…?