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Research agency lauds WeatherTech commercial

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SAN FRANCISCO—A “Made in America” 30-second ad by floor mat and automotive accessory maker WeatherTech scored as the most successful commercial debuting on television during the NFL's Super Bowl Feb. 2, according to a research consultancy.

MacNeil Automotive Products Ltd./WeatherTech's ad featured “experts” saying “you can't do that” to building a plant in America, buying U.S.-made raw materials, hiring American workers and producing quality products. WeatherTech rejects those statements and points out it does all those things.

Socratic Technologies, a San Francisco-based firm that does product, brand and advertising research, named WeathertTech's ad No. 1 among the 53 commercials that ran during the Super Bowl. The firm tested ads in two phases, first for immediate impact for engagement, appeal and persuasiveness, and 10 days later for residual effects, gauging brand recognition and changes in perception and buying interest.

WeatherTech was “THE biggest surprise,” the report said. “The "You Can't Do That' challenge resonated with subjects who recognized the commercial itself, and interest in the brand amplified as the commercial progressed,” the study said. “WeatherTech's "Made in America' spot scored some of the highest points we've seen from Super Bowl commercials. It seems America does aspire to a "can do' attitude,” according to the study.

Socratic Technologies said WeatherTech may have benefited with the nation locked in a “polar vortex” at the time, and it may have been more open to messages about winter car care. WeatherTech's $4 million spot beat out commercials from noted advertisers such as Budweiser, Microsoft and various auto companies.

Bolingbrook-based McNeil Automotive—and David MacNeil, its owner and president—is a major proponent of the Made in America approach to business. The mat manufacturer produces all its goods in the U.S. and buys all its supplies from American vendors.