Many of us look forward to the Super Bowl commercials almost as much as the game itself. Forget the bathroom breaks – we stay put during timeouts hoping to laugh or have our hearts touched in some way.
For car lovers, there was plenty to see in 2016. Kevin Hart was funny as the overprotective father who uses Hyundai Genesis’ Blue Link Car Finder to keep an eye on his daughter, but not funny enough to convince anyone to run to their local dealer. And if you take Christopher Walken out of Kia’s “Walken Closet” commercial, what’s left? Not much. Certainly no lasting impression of the Optima. With that said, neither of those commercials stand out as particularly great or awful. But these do:
Jeep: History runs deep behind the Jeep brand, and Fiat Chrysler’s ad campaign gave the world a reminder of what it’s all about through black-and-white photography and active-life video. It’s not a car, it’s not a truck, it’s a Jeep. And it’s the people behind the wheel — the Jeep culture — who keep the tradition alive.
Acura NSX: The alluring red, white and blue illuminations reveal the NSX’s American origins, creatively combined with David Lee Roth’s solo vocal track “Runnin’ with the Devil.” Pairing the two with stimulating images of the car’s undeniable beauty and the irresistible sound of the revving engine is sure to get any car lover’s motor running.
Mini: It’s one of a kind, just like the people who love it. BMW drove its Mini campaign beyond any stereotypes and invited everyone — young, old, tall or small — to experience all that the vehicle has to offer. And if you don’t believe it, you don’t know about Mini’s history in the World Rally Championship series. A lineup of unexpected celebrities including Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Tony Hawk, Michael Whinnet, T-Pain, Harvey Keitel, Michai Stephens and Randy Johnson set the bar for defying labels.
Audi: Love the concept, love the effects, love the car, love the musical tribute to Davie Bowie. This ad may have received five stars if not for two things: When we think of the U.S. space program, we think of the 1960s swashbuckling astronauts’ sports car of choice, the Corvette – not a German-built Audi. And it concerns us a bit that the near-comatose former “starman” in the ad seems more senile than depressed. The guy won’t eat, so you hand him the keys to a powerful performance machine (at night?) just to make him smile? The frosting on the cake: this baby can go 205 mph. Houston, we have a problem.
Honda Ridgeline: When you’re trying to break into the competitive pickup truck market, you have to come up with something so incredibly awesome that the world will break down your door. Honda’s answer? Rugged performance? Nope. Good looks? Baaaaaaaaa. The new Ridgeline has a truck-bed audio system! Buy now!! (Perhaps it will inspire your sheep to start singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” but we doubt it.)
Toyota Prius: Maybe they’re making fun of themselves? We hope so. These bank-robbing, Prius-stealing morons are the dumbest criminals in the world if they think a Prius is the best choice to elude police. Perhaps they’re hoping the car’s ubiquity in coastal markets will allow them to blend in? Wow, there’s a message worth millions.
Let us know which car-related Super Bowl ad you liked most, in the comments below.