Eric Mayne's Blog

Cagey Krafcik Running Super Bowl Reverse?

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I love watching football.

Sure, there's action. But it's also a game of guile, played not so much between the goal lines as between the ears.

Is there anything more entertaining than a trick play by a clever QB?

Enter John Krafcik, signal-caller for Hyundai Motor America.

He recently huddled with my colleague, WardsAuto.com Associate Editor Byron Pope. The topic: Super Bowl advertising.

Krafcik butt-pats Ford Motor Co. marketing guru Jim Farley, who suggests the Super Bowl is for rookies. High-profile veterans can afford to stay on the bench during the world’s biggest annual sporting event, Farley says.

“I think Jim is right,” says Krafcik, who happens to be quarterbacking three Hyundai ads for the big game.

“If you are established, especially in automotive, it’s probably not the best (way to advertise),” he adds.

OK, a 30-second spot during the broadcast can cost $3 million. But does anyone see a misdirection play developing here?

Krafcik: “If I had the Ford brand to worry about, or another brand with 90% awareness, I’d think differently.”

Uh, Ford, you need to call a time-out.

This guy is so slick, he makes Tom Brady look like Ryan Leaf.

The 2011 Super Bowl is expected to attract 110 million viewers. I’m betting there are more than a few F-150 buyers among them.

And to the rest of crowd, the Blue Oval will be conspicuous by its absence. Ford is the reigning king of American industry and the Super Bowl is a marketing battle royal.

Meanwhile, Hyundai comes into the game on a hot streak. Its sales jumped 23.7% in 2010, according to Ward’s data.

The brand also boosted its market share by 0.5 points, the third-largest gain behind Chevrolet and – you guessed it – Ford.

Still, Krafcik drones on with a seemingly benign snap count.

Hyundai is known by just 30% of consumers, he says, adding: “When you look at a brand like Honda or Ford, they are in the 60%-70% range.”

Oh, this guy is good. ... Blitz, Ford! Blitz!

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