Super Bowl XLIX: Commercials
While Super Bowl XLIX is already old news with the New England Patriots defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24, the commercials that aired during the game will live on forever. No fewer than 40 advertisers joined this year’s ad contest, with 15 of them being new to the Super Bowl. With each 30-second ad running $4.5 million, it’s no surprise that the $250 million earned this year was a new record. As usual, a host of manufacturers used the Super Bowl to promote new products, although they didn’t crowd the field as much as recent years. Still, Chevrolet, Lexus, Nissan, Fiat, Dodge, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Kia spent millions of dollars to have their newest vehicles featured during TV’s biggest event. Some of them will remain among the best Super Bowl ads ever, while others... well, you will probably forget them in a matter of minutes.
Good or bad, the car-related Super Bowl spots listed below were all part of the show. From Nissan’s touching "With Dad" commercial to Fiat’s silly "Blue Pill" ad, there was plenty of automotive action during the Super Bowl XLIX. In case you missed the game, the commercials, or you’re just not a football fan, you can watch them all after the jump and decide which you like the most. Just make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments box below.
Click past the jump to see this year’s car related commercials.
2015 Chevrolet Colorado: 4G LTE Wi-Fi
What would you do if your TV went out? You’d probably pick up the phone and call the cable company, right? Well, Chevrolet thinks it’s time you start using the Colorado’s built-in, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with online streaming so you no longer have to depend on your TV. There’s only one problem, though. You’d have to watch the game in a Colorado (or any other GM vehicle equipped with 4G LTE). I wonder how many Super Bowl viewers actually thought their TV had a problem during the first three seconds of this commercial.
2015 Lexus NX: Make Some Noise
What the hell did I just watch? Oh, a bunch of NX crossovers being driven randomly in an underground parking lot, with dancers appearing randomly during the 30-second video, all set to a minimalist soundtrack made of random car noises. There’s also a heap of random images popping up here and there. This commercial isn’t about noises, but is instead about random stuff, making it the worst ad of Super Bowl XLIX!
2015 Lexus RC: "Lets Play"
Lexus’ message in this 30-second spot is as simple as it gets: hooning the brand-new RC sideways is effortless. Of course, being able to actually do it in a safe manner requires some skill, but when you’re targeting BMW 4 Series customers, everything must seem as painless as "driving" a plastic, remote control-operated toy. Far from artsy, but straightforward nonetheless.
Nissan Commercial: "With Dad"
Nissan’s "With Dad" commercial was by far the most compelling of the car-related ads at this year’s Super Bowl. Besides telling the touching story of a race car driver whose son watches afar as he grows up, the 90-second spot also provides us with our first look at two brand-new Nissan cars. The company’s front-engined, LMP1 racer makes an appearance at the 49-second mark, while the 2016 Maxima sedan shows up at the 1:27 mark. How often does a Super Bowl commercial preview two different cars?
What’s more, "With Dad" also represents Nissan’s return to the Super Bowl after an 18-year hiatus, as well as the beginning of a campaign through which the company will donate $1 million to Habitat for Humanity and Wounded Warrior Project.
2015 Fiat 500X: "Blue Pill"
I can’t really decide whether Fiat’s "Blue Pill" commercial is funny or plain silly, but I wouldn’t place it among the best car-related ads of this year’s Super Bowl. I mean, I get the message with Viagra being able to treat certain dysfunctions associated with the Fiat 500 — read lack of legroom and luggage space — but the 500X is far from being impressive. The crossover segment is packed with outstanding vehicles, and the 500X is not one of them.
Dodge Commercial: "Wisdom"
Dodge’s "Wisdom" ad is interesting to the extent that the company managed to bring together 11 centenaries in the same 60-second spot. As you might have already guessed, Dodge pulled the stunt as part of its 100th anniversary.
Wisdom? Sure, there’s a lot of wisdom in phrases such as "keep your eyes open and sometimes your mouth shut" or "there are miracles all around you," but the sight of a 100-year-old man putting the Challenger’s pedal to the metal is rather disturbing. Whatever happened to the Volkswagen-slamming Dodge of 2013?
2015 Toyota Camry: "How Great I Am"
Part of the "One Bold Choice Leads to Another" campaign for the 2015 Camry, Toyota’s "How great I am" ad features Paralympic medalist and Dancing with the Stars finalist Amy Purdy pulling off some amazing stunts. What’s more, the footage is set to Muhammad Ali’s famous "How Great I Am" speech, which the boxer made right before he defeated George Foreman in 1974. Granted, both Purdy’s courageous feats and Ali’s speech are uplifting, but there’s one thing that’s wrong with this commercial. It shouldn’t be about the boring Camry...
2015 BMW i3: "Newfangled Idea"
Most of us are addicted to the Internet nowadays, but things were rather different two decades ago. Actually, people had not yet grasped what the internet was in the early 1990s. BMW seems to think that’s how electric mobility is viewed today and its Super Bowl ad is centered on peoples’ confusion about EV manufacturing and what kind of technology they use.
Featuring former “Today” show co-hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel, the spot first shows the two TV presenters trying to figure out what the Internet was in 1994. It then switches to 2015, showing Gumbel and Couric driving a BMW i3, while complaining about how the innovative EV has "nothing under the hood." Needless to say, an interesting approach to the commoner’s view on electric vehicles.
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S: "Fable"
A few days after slamming Porsche with its "Deamcar" commercial for the AMG GT, Mercedes-Benz returned to promote the same vehicle using the old cartoon cliché of the tortoise beating the hare (no, this time it’s not Bugs Bunny) in a forest race. Long story short, the slow tortoise stumbles upon the sports car and uses it to cross the finish line before the arrogant rodent. There’s nothing wrong with that scenario at first glimpse, but what’s the idea with the AMG GT speeding on a tarmac-covered forest road? Is Mercedes planning to join WRC racing anytime soon? As far as I know, the AMG GT was meant to tackle the Porsche 911 and not the Subaru WRX STI. What’s more, the ad suffers big time in the funny department save for the "hare raising power and performance" bit at the end.
2016 Kia Sorento: "Perfect Getaway"
Part of Kia’s TV campaign titles "The Perfect Getaway Vehicle," the "Perfect Getaway" ad pokes fun at the James Bond series using Pierce Brosnan himself — the man who played the British spy on four occasions. Naturally, the bespoke Aston Martin has been replaced by a 2016 Kia Sorento, while Brosnan’s usual mission to save the world is now just a pleasant drive to a mountain cabin. Somehow Kia managed to inject "Perfect Getaway" with a bit of Hollywood without overdoing it. Nice.
2015 Jeep Renegade: "Beautiful Lands"
Have you noticed how most Jeep commercials are about mountain landscapes, lakes, snow, and adventure? Well, this Super Bowl ad is no different from any Jeep spots except for the fact that it takes the viewers all over the world, from California to New York City, and from congested India to the sandy dunes of the Sahara desert. Naturally, the main character of this 90-second, very expensive ad is the brand-new Jeep Renegade, the company’s first truly global vehicle.
Danica Patrick and GoDaddy Commercial
This ad wasn’t actually aired during the Super Bowl, as the preview released by GoDaddy sparked some controversy among animal rights groups. In the spot, a puppy that is riding in the back of a truck with the rest of his litter tumbles out and starts his journey back home. Once he arrives, the breeder says she’s going to sell him using a website she will be making using GoDaddy. The puppy Is then loaded into a van with NASCAR driver Danica Patrick at the wheel.
Although GoDaddy said the ad was supposed to poke fun at this year’s Budweiser spot that shows the friendship between a Labrador puppy and a Clydesdale, animal rights groups did not find it funny, claiming it promotes puppy mills. Following a petition that was started online and signed by 40,000 users in one day, GoDaddy decided to pull it from the Super Bowl.