Kate Upton is back on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue for a second year in a row. The curvaceous blond even changed outfits and locations for her second appearance on the magazine's cover.
“POLAR BARE: @KateUpton in Antarctica is your 2013 SI Swimsuit Cover Model!” Sports Illustrated tweeted via Twitter on Friday. SI also noted that Upton has become the 1st model to be appear on back-to-back covers since Tyra Banks appeared on the cover of SI's Swimsuit issue in 1996 and 2007.
Upton traded 2012's two-piece bikini and sandy beach for an Antarctica-themed cover, wearing small white bikini bottoms with a fur-trimmed jacket that leaves little to the imagination.
Upton, who was sworn to secrecy until the cover was announced, took to Twitter to talk about her cover shoot. "We can finally talk about Antarctica," she tweeted, adding, "took us 2 months to thaw out."
Forbes notes that SI's Swimsuit edition has turned into one of Time Inc.'s largest revenue drivers since becoming a stand-alone issue for Sports Illustrated in 1997. In 2005, for example, the swimsuit issue brought in an estimated $35 million in ad sales for Time Inc. Given Upton's popularity and the recent buzz surrounding her Super Bowl ad for Mercedes-Benz, this year's swimsuit edition is likely to satisfy Time Inc. executives.
Mercedes-Benz said its Super Bowl 2013 online-only commercial, which featured Upton, improved the brand's profile with younger buyers.
“There’s a method to that madness because we’re trying to reach out to younger buyers, not just the folks who have considered Mercedes-Benz,” said Mercedes-Benz USA President Stephen Cannon at the J.D. Power & Associates International Automotive Roundtable in Orlando, Florida, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Mercedes-Benz used its Super Bowl commercial and the online-only ad to promote the CLA-Class, which is one of the company's first cars to be priced below $30,000.
According the luxury car maker, the Upton ad has now been viewed more than 13 million times. Despite Upton's appearance, the commercial was a bit subdued compared to the supermodel's other commercial appearances, including an ad for Zoo York that was banned in 2012.
“She playfully flirted with the camera and then came up to the CLA and said you missed a spot,” Cannon said. “So it was pretty tame. Prime time nowadays has gotten very racy, so I felt this was not too far for the brand.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Upton will appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Monday night, along with several other swimsuit models, to discuss SI's most recent Swimsuit issue.
USA Today reports that SI has joined forces with the Travel Channel to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion shoot. "Sports Illustrated: The Making of Swimsuit '13 7 Continents, 17 Wonders" is set to premiere on February 17.
"From battling sandstorms in the African dunes to traversing treacherous cliffs in Asia, we'll show what goes into capturing these singular moments on film," reads a joint press release.
Is this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition better than last year's? Which cover is your favorite of all time? Share your thoughts in the comments section.