Toyota Makes Big Super Bowl Buy, Lexus Returns With ‘Black Panther’ Ad

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Toyota, which sat out last year’s Super Bowl, will make a big splash in this year’s game with two 60-second spots. Meanwhile, Toyota-owned luxury brand Lexus will advertise in the game for the second year in a row. This time, Lexus will run a spot tied to Marvel’s upcoming “Black Panther” superhero movie. The two brands join Kia and Hyundai as automakers that have confirmed buys in the Feb. 4 game on NBC.

Toyota’s first ad will air in the first quarter and plugs its new global Olympics sponsorship. The second spot will run during halftime and be more vehicle-focused.

Toyota sponsors NBC’s Super Bowl halftime report and will use the network’s on-air talent to introduce the ad, said Ed Laukes, group VP for Toyota division marketing at Toyota Motor North America, who confirmed the buys during an interview Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Toyota has a tight relationship with NBC that includes its regular-season sponsorship of the “Sunday Night Football” halftime report. Laukes said the automaker regularly gets the network’s point of view on themes and executions.

Laukes declined to reveal the creative themes of the halftime ad, which is by Toyota lead agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Still, it’s safe to say Toyota will avoid anything with even the subtlest political undertones. “The more that we get away from politics in sports the better off we are,” Laukes says. People “want to be entertained.”

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