SUPER BOWL FROM P. 1
Ad Age last week broke the news
that BMW North America will return to
the game after a decade, seeking to use
the Super Bowl as a stage to launch a
new slate of cars. General Motors, which
had sat the past two games out, is back in
with a focus on Chevrolet, top marketer
Joel Ewanick told Ad Age earlier this
year. Chrysler, the only U.S. automaker
to show up in the last Super Bowl broadcast with a single ad for Dodge, is back in
and this time wants at least two brands
in the game, according to people familiar
with the matter. Audi of America is
making its fourth consecutive Super
Bowl appearance and will be in the
game’s first commercial break.
Volkswagen, which aired one Super
Bowl ad the last time around, will return
with the purchase of an additional spot.
Kia, which last ran a 30-second spot, will
run a 60-second ad in Super Bowl XLV,
while Hyundai Motor America will air
three ads—one more than it did in 2010.
Mercedes-Benz will air one 60-second
spot in the fourth quarter from Merkley
& Partners, timed because the company
has four new product launches next year
and it is the 125th anniversary of the
brand. “We’re up nearly 20% and want
to ride that wave … it’s a good way to
start the year,” said Donna Boland, corporate communications manager at
Mercedes Benz USA.
Indeed. Many automakers are
bouncing back, posting healthy sales
results after bankruptcy filings, govern-
LINKEDIN FROM P. 2
they kept social networking to a minimum,” he said. On LinkedIn, you can’t
do lots of “social things” such as post
photos or tag your friends.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said out
at this year’s Web 2.0 summit in San
Francisco, that Facebook is about kegs
and keg stands. Using his analogy, one
would assume LinkedIn is about office
water-coolers. But you also can’t stop
progress. Many of the “social” features
that LinkedIn has been very slow to add,
such as its own version of a like button
and a new “Company Pages” feature,
have come this year at breakneck pace.
Mr. Weiner, LinkedIn’s third CEO,
isn’t worried about the competition.
“Facebook is broad and horizontal, and
its killer apps are social gaming and
sharing,” he said. “Twitter is an app for
social communication that is used for
broadcasting what you’re up to.
LinkedIn is a professional network.” Is it
OK to have fun on LinkedIn? “Fun is in
the eye of the beholder. Do you have
fun at your job?” Mr. Weiner asked.
With LinkedIn’s hyper-focus on professional networking and job services, it’s
easy to see that the exploding unemployment rate had some impact on
LinkedIn’s growth as people used it and
other tools to look for jobs. Membership
numbers for LinkedIn in 2007 were 15
million and shot up to over 40 million by
2009, the years when unemployment
began to climb sky high.
LinkedIn isn’t exactly alone in the
mass work-network market, if you
could reasonably call it that. Paris-based
Viadeo has 30 million users and a focus
on smaller businesses of emerging
markets—its secret weapon is their
dominance in China, not exactly an
emerging market, but definitely one
that can use some nuanced cultural
ment bailouts and recalls, and like
Mercedes, they have news to share
about new models—in BMW and GM’s
case, electric car models. It all adds up to
car makers heftily contributing to the
record sellout of the game. News Corp.’s
Fox, which is broadcasting the game,
booked 80% of its ad inventory by June,
and by October the network announced
the Super Bowl was sold out.
KIA WILL RUN A
ad in Superbowl XLV.
That’s one more ad
than it did in 2010.
WILL AIR ONE
spot in the fourth
Merkley & Partners.
their customers. Kodak said the feature
is relatively new, but hopes to expand on
its capabilities. “We have been able to
add more information about us and our
products/services,” said Brian Nizinsky,
online marketing manager at Kodak.
“This gives our audience more ways to
interact with us, and that should only
increase as the LinkedIn user base starts
using those features more.”
LinkedIn groups have often been
downplayed as LinkedIn’s less-success-
ful features, bringing in low traffic. But
Kodak had a different take. “We have
found that LinkedIn Groups have been
a great way to both start and participate
in online discussions that are happen-
ing only on LinkedIn,” Mr. Nizinsky
said. “We know that the people on
LinkedIn use it for business networking
and career enhancement so they tend
to be more engaged with our content.
We make sure we are members of the
most active groups that are relevant to
our B2B audience—for example, the
digital-printing group with over 11,000
members. Once we are part of these
his kind of
fraught with self-restraint
unusual in the
when your own
on who you
praise is not
quite as easy to
throw out there
as an LOL or an
combination of the two things we talked
about—a big idea and some things that
are really fun to watch and memorable.
I feel really good about having Chevy as
a brand to do this with because they
have a distinctive identity and brand to
Cameron McNaughton, an automo-
tive marketing consultant, pointed out
that no amount of experience or testing
can guarantee a winning Super Bowl ad.
“The thing about the Super Bowl that is
such a challenge for auto manufacturers
and their agencies is you have to step out
of the traditional auto creative comfort
zone, and having done that, you may
still get panned the next day.” Asked to
give his predictions for winners this
February, he ranked Audi and its agency
Venables Bell & Partners No. 1, followed
by Chevrolet and Goodby Silverstein.
“I hope one of them finally manages
to take out Doritos for best spot,” said
Liz Vanzura, chief marketing officer of
MMB in Boston, who formerly served
as the global marketing director for
GM’s Cadillac brand. “How come a
nacho-chip brand can knock out some
of the sexiest car brands year after year?
The brands should take advantage of
the stage the Super Bowl gives them
and run their most edgy, emotional, fun
and entertaining work.”
One big car advertiser hopes to stand
apart from the pack by not joining it.
Ford Motor Co. will advertise only dur-
ing Fox’s pre-game coverage, said
Matthew VanDyke, director of U.S.
marketing communications at Ford.
groups, we often share content and
make sure to respond to any questions
and comments that people post.”
Other features that are more social?
Integrating the Twitter stream and
launching Recommendations, a sort of
“like” button for the buttoned-up set.
Would LinkedIn adopt Facebook
Connect, increasingly the identification
layer for the web, and even adopted by
MySpace last month? “No,” Mr.
Revenue comes from three
sources—advertising, premium subscriptions and selling research. Mr.
Weiner said the streams are fairly even.
Even though as recently as 2009—
when the company was raising its last
round of funding—Mr. Weiner was
comfortable saying to various publications that LinkedIn’s revenue was close
to $100 million per year, he is no longer
providing revenue numbers. To some,
this could only mean one thing: an IPO.
After investing $103 million, it’s
understandable that investors would
want some money back. An IPO could
make sense. Not surprisingly, investors
who actually put money into LinkedIn
declined to comment for the record, but
a venture capitalist who invested in
HotJobs was happy to talk. HotJobs sold
to Monster for $225 million in
“An IPO is always a possibility,” said
Robert Jevon of Millennia Partners, an
investor in HotJobs back in 1998 who
saw it go through an IPO. “Or a strate-
gic buyer … could be a large media
company that might think there’s a
large advertising opportunity there, so
they could be interested in buying.”
Could Facebook buy LinkedIn? Sure,
Mr. Jevon said. “It could provide them
with another offering to add to their
suite and Facebook, then could become a
larger company with larger reach.”