Audi Shifts Into 60 Seconds of Super Bowl Time

A year after Audi introduced its R8 luxury sports car with its first Super Bowl spot in nearly 20 years, the automaker on Wednesday announced that it has bought 60 seconds of airtime in February’s big game.

Audi’s new R8 spot will air in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLIII, which kicks off Sunday, Feb. 1 on NBC.

The ad buy is a significant win for NBC, which has struggled to find takers for its eight remaining spots. (According to at least one media buyer, the number of avails remaining in this year’s Super Bowl is probably closer to an even dozen.)

NBC’s going rate for a 30-second spot is $3 million.

Audi elected to jump back into the Super Bowl fray after garnering a great deal of consumer and media attention with last year’s spot, a spoof of the 1972 film The Godfather. In the creative, the aftermath of Tom Hagen’s visit to Los Angeles studio chief Jack Woltz is reenacted by a look-alike actor. Rather than waking to find the severed head of his thoroughbred racehorse at the foot of his bed, the ersatz Woltz discovers the hacked-off grill of a Mercedes.

The 60-second Godfather spot ran in the B position of the very first commercial pod, and notched a 29.1 P2+ rating, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

According to Collective Intellect and Nielsen Buzz Metrics, of the 67 ads aired by Fox during Super Bowl XLII, the Audi spot was the second-most buzzworthy.

“Last year’s Super Bowl ad put old luxury on notice that Audi was setting the new standard in the American luxury market,” said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer, Audi of America. “With this year’s spot, we plan to build on the success we’ve enjoyed in 2008 to make 2009 a year of progress and market momentum for the Audi brand.”

Audi spent $22 million on measured advertising in 2007 and $12 million through May of 2008, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Year-to-date, Audi has sold 785 of its premium R8 models, which carry a sticker price of $114,200. That represents an increase of 361.8 percent versus its introductory year, during which it sold 170 R8s.

The carmaker reported that it has sold 80,048 vehicles through Dec. 2, down just 5.8 percent versus total 2007 sales.