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Cars.com Gasses Up for the Super Bowl

Online service in for a third-quarter spot
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Cars.com on Friday confirmed that it has signed on for NBC’s Super Bowl XLVI roster, purchasing a 30-second spot that will air in the third quarter.

With its latest Super Bowl buy, Cars.com will mark its fifth consecutive appearance in the NFL title game.

“Advertising during the largest television event of the year has been a successful awareness-building strategy for us over the last four years,” said Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com. “We see this year’s commercial as another important investment in our brand.”

The Cars.com spot will be developed by DDB Chicago, the site’s agency of record. 

Last month, NBC said it had just a handful of spots left in the Super Bowl, which will air on Feb. 5, 2012. Seth Winter, senior vice president of NBC Sports Group Sales & Marketing, said that Super Bowl ads are fetching as much as $3.5 million per :30.

Cars.com is a particularly apt fit for the Super Bowl, which has become a must-buy for automakers. While Winter declined to identify the clients who have already signed on, he acknowledged that NBC’s broadcast will be just as flush with car dollars as last year’s production on Fox.

“You will see the same strength in auto this year that you did last year,” Winter said. “I can literally count on the fingers of one hand the number of car advertisers who won’t be back.”

Last year, eight automakers bought 20 in-game Super Bowl spots, accounting for nearly one-third of the broadcast’s total inventory. Among those who ponied up for the exposure were Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Mercedes, and Kia.

Mercedes last week confirmed that it would not make an in-game buy, although the company hasn't ruled out a return in 2013.