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Garmin's Super Bowl Loss?



February 07, 2007 – Comments (2)

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There's been a lot of buzz about Super Bowl ads this week, since companies spent big bucks to get their ads showcased there. Garmin's (Nasdaq: GRMN) ad was panned by some "experts," but I'm not sure I buy their takes on winners and losers.

Personally, I was entertained by Garmin's ad because it featured a GPS superhero who was awfully reminiscent of a Japanese TV show I loved when I was a kid, Ultraman. I didn't see the entire commercial, so I decided to check it out on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) YouTube. That's where it got interesting.

The ad was posted there by Garmin, as was a full-length music video version. The music video had been viewed about 44,000 times, and it had been favorited 244 times. It had a four-star rating and scores of comments, some of which were negative, but most of which cheered "Garmin Man" in his fight against Maposaurus. (The campaign goes further than that -- Garmin Man also hangs out on News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS) MySpace.)

Compare that to Sprint Nextel's (NYSE: S) "connectile dysfunction" Super Bowl ad, one that some experts deemed a success. It, too, was posted on YouTube; it had been viewed about 1,300 times, favorited just once, and had no comments.

True, 44,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to Super Bowl viewership, but then again, these are 44,000 people who went out of their way to seek out the video online. Could some combination of kitschy irony -- Ultraman-esque action and '80s hair-band metal tune -- have appeal such experts might not understand? I can't help but wonder whether so-called experts made the wrong call on this one -- and whether Garmin's overall campaign is going to have more power to bring brand recognition to Garmin than some might imagine.

Garmin is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. To find out what other companies David and Tom Gardner have recommended to subscribers, click here for a 30-day free trial.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can comment on this take here.

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 07, 2007 at 5:50 PM, LeanieBean (65.17) wrote:

Good stuff Alyce. I wonder if the 44,000 that viewed or those that "favorited" the video on YouTube, are at all in the Garmin target audience and how they initially went there to view it (word of mouth/from ad?). I've never seen Ultraman, but lots of the folks I watched the bowl with had, and thought of the comparison right way...fwiw, they all loved the ad immensely...



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#2) On February 07, 2007 at 6:42 PM, TMFLomax (89.07) wrote:

Hi E, Thanks for coming by! I wondered the same thing... one of my thoughts was doesn't YouTube skew a little young... but then again, it seemed like a lot of the commenters did know Ultraman and also knew the singer in the video (and I admit, I don't know who the guy was myself). It made me wonder if maybe it was hitting an older demographic than I might have thought. But there is always the idea... hmm, how many of the people who watched the ad in YouTube actually DRIVE? Or have their own cars? Or even worry about getting lost? ;)

And you're right -- was it already a living a life of its own in YouTube and then got boosted by the superbowl, or did it gain after the superbowl. All interesting angles here.

Oh and thanks for the scuttle about the people you watched the bowl with!


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