None of us expected to see an ad from General Motors during Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast. In fact, the company announced months ago that it would bypass the costly commercials associated with the big game.
But Chevrolet's communications chief Michael Albano had been dropping hints that GM's bowtie brand might have a couple of surprises in store for football fans. He reiterated to Detroit News that ads were off the table, but suggested that there might be other, creative ways of shoehorning a Chevy into the game day festivities.
Today, GM confirmed that Super Bowl organizers had tried to include the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show. But in a statement released to the media, the company said that ultimately, those efforts didn't pan out.
What inquiring minds want to know is: why? There are a couple of tantalizing clues left behind.
For starters, there's a series of blog posts from Lauren Craig, who appeared in Sunday's halftime show. Though her official page on MTV.com has been scrubbed to remove any reference to the Corvette, an archived entry shows that she mentioned the car three times:
January 31: "We finally gathered in the dome, where we got to see how the stage was set up and tried to guess who would be popping out of the red Corvette we saw at the back of the stage."
January 31: "Suddenly, the Corvette turned into a transformer before our eyes and we realized Beyoncé herself was going to be coming out of it."
February 3: "Absolutely nothing that we rehearsed prepared us for the sheer excitement of the live production of that size in front of an entire stadium of fans and millions around the globe. We weren’t even sure what to expect, as she had axed the red Corvette from the show, but she definitely made the right decisions."
So, if we take Craig at her word, it appears that Beyoncé herself removed the Corvette from the show. (She's been blamed for worse things, including the game's 34-minute blackout.) But Craig wasn't exactly what we'd call an insider. It's just as likely -- more likely, in fact -- that the show's director 86ed the car. Maybe the Corvette just didn't look right.
It's also interesting to note that the Super Bowl halftime report was sponsored by Jeep.
Media outlets generally prevent ads from competitors from airing back-to-back, which is why you'll probably never see a commercial for Chase and another for Wells-Fargo one after the other. The Jeep sponsorship and the Corvette product placement were likely far enough apart -- and different enough -- to get around such hurdles, but they might've caused some friction. Could that have let to the Corvette's removal?
And let's not forget CBS, which had final say in broadcast's content. Could GM's refusal to purchase airtime have worked against Chevrolet at the last minute? Probably not, since GM's ad buys throughout the rest of the year more than make up for the game day absence.
In the end, the world may never know exactly why the Corvette was canned from the halftime show. But there's enough fodder here to keep car fans and conspiracy theorists occupied for weeks.
Photos of Beyoncé popping out of the 2014 Corvette would've been the sort of publicity that money really couldn't buy, but it's not as if the car needs the Super Bowl's help to turn heads. The new model has received loud praise from journalists and consumers alike.
And the Corvette wasn't entirely absent from the Super Bowl festivities. Yesterday, Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco received a brand-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for being named Super Bowl XLVII MVP. As a nice touch, the keys were presented by Rick Flick, the owner of Banner Chevrolet in New Orleans East, which was completely destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.