The first ad, focusing on the heavy duty Silverado pickup, was posted online Wednesday. The second spot will debut during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast. Both ads are slated to air during the game’s first quarter.
“It is like when I was a kid and I was allowed to open only one present the night before Christmas,” said Chevrolet global chief marketing officer Tim Mahoney. “So we are releasing one commercial now and will wait on the other.”
The Web-released 60-second spot, dubbed “Romance,” features a cowboy driving a bachelor to his romantic meeting.
“We want to be smart-funny,” Mr. Mahoney said. “We want our commercials to have a wink and a smile.”
The auto maker will use the ad on a home page takeover of Google Inc.’s YouTube website Thursday.
GM’s return to the Super Bowl highlights a change in style and marketing tactics Mr. Mahoney intends to bring to the auto maker. The move comes after an unsuccessful push by former global marketing chief Joel Ewanick to revamp GM’s marketing. The company sat out last year’s Super Bowl after Mr. Ewanick said in May 2012 that it was too expensive to justify the cost.
Mr. Mahoney declined to comment specifically on Mr. Ewanick’s decision, saying that returning to the Super Bowl this year fit with the company’s new vehicle introductions.
“The philosophy we have is that the product and the media are too good not to participate,” Mr. Mahoney said. “We have to be in the places where our customers are going to be.”
Despite the return, GM will stick with a “less is more strategy” and limit the number of advertisements to two and focus only on Chevrolet, he said. Mr. Mahoney declined to say how much GM spent on the spots, although it has been reported that some 30-second slots were selling for as much as $4 million each.
This is the second time in the past five years that GM has returned to the Super Bowl after a hiatus. The auto maker opted out in 2009 because of its bankruptcy proceedings but returned in 2011 as Mr. Ewanick looked to intensify Chevrolet’s advertising. Mr. Ewanick was ousted from the company in July 2012 after failing to keep executives informed of the financial decisions surrounding a soccer sponsorship.
Mr. Mahoney, who came to GM from Volkswagen AG in April, said he sees the Chevrolet message built around confidence and optimism. Future commercials will include real shots taken from videos posted on social-media sites featuring everyday people rather than actors and celebrities.