RICK KRANZ

Acura says Seinfeld/Leno commercial did the job

The NSX concept debuted last month at the Detroit auto show and created quite a buzz.
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Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
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CHICAGO -- Is Acura happy with the response to the Super Bowl commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno vying for the upcoming NSX sports car?

You betcha.

Moments after the Super Bowl ended, Acura's Web site crashed.

Mike Accavitti, American Honda's chief marketing officer, estimates that the Web site was down for about 10 minutes because of a 3,000 percent increase in traffic.

Accavitti said the ad on Acura's Web site received 16 million views from Jan. 30, the day it was posted, to Feb. 6, the day after the Super Bowl. He was interviewed Tuesday during an Acura press event prior to the opening of the Chicago Auto Show.

In the humorous commercial, Seinfeld and Leno try to bribe the man who holds the rights to the first 2015 NSX supercar.

The NSX concept debuted last month at the Detroit auto show and created quite a buzz. Sales begin in about three years.

Why draw attention to a car that's three years away from production?

"This direction you are seeing with Acura isn't by accident," Accavitti said. "This is a well thought-out, laser-focused plan that we have to get Acura noticed and get Acura on people's shopping lists because we have these great new products coming out."

The redesigned 2013 RDX crossover and the newest edition to the Acura line, the compact 2013 ILX sedan, will be in showrooms this spring.

"The traffic driving that we did with the commercial delivered the results we were looking for," Accavitti said. Besides the NSX, RDX and ILX, people coming to the Web site were clicking on Acura's other models, too.

Said Accavitti: "People are talking about Acura who never talked about Acura, and that was our intent."

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