Monday, February 2, 2015


If you missed any of the car commercials during the Super Bowl, here's my take on how they stack up to the motoring public here in the good ol' USA. If you missed any of them, check out this link to see what you missed:  Cars Direct-2015-super-bowl-car-commercials
Here we go, in order of appearance, graded A+ as best to F for failing! (yes, I graded some A+ and one F)

Chevy Colorado: Right before kickoff, we thought the NBC network had lost the signal as the TV picture fizzled out, but then it turned out to be an ad for the Chevy Colorado pickup, which has it's own WiFi and used the music from AC/DC's "Back in Black". Caught me off guard, so I liked the surprise.    A-

Toyota in the 1st Quarter had a dramatic commercial with a lady with no legs who still did all kinds of things, along with narration from (I think) Muhammed Ali. Inspirational, dramatic, I give it a B+

BMW i3 electric car also showed up early, with a funny clip from long ago with Today show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble.  Some good points about new technology related to how they didn't understand the internet 21 years ago, and of course electric cars are the new technology that they didn't understand yet either. Since Brian and I have test driven the BMW i3 I liked this car and might give it an A for driving experience, but can't go higher than B+ for the commercial.

At the end of the 1st Quarter, Lexus had a fairly generic ad for the NX Turbo and NX Hybrid, the cars drove around, some flashy people were seen, there was creatively photographed water flying around, but the commercial came across as an average new car spot, so they earn a D here.

Nissan showed up in the 2nd Quarter, and I have to admit not liking it on first viewing, despite the Nissan race car driver scenes. The story of the ad had something to do with a dad who was a racer, his wife and son were left at home and worried for his safety when the race car crashed on TV, but apparently the intent was to show that Nissan vehicles are safe I guess. At the end of the commercial, dad-driver is home and picks up teenage son from school, they look at each other, and apparently it was the new Maxima. The Harry Chapin song "Cat's in the Cradle" certainly spins it as a dramatic emotional story of dad not having time to be with his son, Race Cars good, long unclear family story of some kind not so good: adds up to a B in my book.

EXTRA SPECIAL NOTICE: Not a car maker ad, but kudos to the WeatherTech guys for an ad during SuperBowl 49. These guys are an all American made-in-the-USA company, they advertise a TON in car magazines, and who couldn't use an awesome set of floor mats in their car? Despite that, it was a very average commercial that described the product, hit the key points, a solid C.

FIAT:  As total disclosure, I drive a FIAT, own a handful of FIAT shares of stock, but I loved the "blue pill" commercial for the soon-to-hit-the-US FIAT 500X. A gentleman's "blue pill" falls out his window, goes through the Italian town, and lands in the gas tank of a tiny FIAT 500, which suddenly grows in size to the 4 door FIAT 500X. Very well done, very funny, Italian content, what's not to love on this one? A+

Halftime:  Toyota #2, another serious take on being a dad, he's taking his daughter to the airport where she seems to know the military folks. Is she in the military? Dating a military person? Who knows, another serious dramatic ad. Even though I also own a Toyota Camry, the ad seemed pretty staged and didn't connect with me too much, so I've got to give them a C for this one.

Still halftime, Toyota #3 showed us the "BOLD NEW CAMRY". OK, let's face facts here, the Camry is the top selling car in the US because Toyota makes a big comfy sofa that you can drive down the street, people love this car, and there's not much EXCITEMENT behind the wheel of a Camry. Great selling car that you would NOT want to autocross, but Toyota is great at what they do with this vehicle. The commercial, not so much, F.

Into the 3rd Quarter, and a real surprise. Out of nowhere, Lexus had a funny flashy commercial for the RC350 with various cars drifting into tight parking spots, and this commercial made you want to check out the vehicle even if you had no idea what it was. Great job on this one, and I've got to give it a big ol' A!

Then a commercial came on that I was sure was one of those non-profit-feel-good-public-service-types, with a series of real people that were around 100 years old giving great bits of advice about how to live life. Then all of a sudden we notice one of these folks is driving a Dodge Charger or Challenger! Wow, a Dodge commercial to celebrate the Dodge Brothers 100th anniversary. Very well done, caught me by surprise, so with their theme of "never forget where you came from", a nice A+.

Next up, we see a producer type giving a story line to former James Bond Pierce Brosnan, where the director is describing "you're driving up a mountain" and see a series of incidents where Pierce is thinking it's a big fat adventure shoot-'em-up scene, but the producer is painting a nice quiet ride up a scenic mountain. Guess what, Brosnan is driving a Kia Sorrento SUV! Darn if they didn't do a great job on surprising us with this one, it was funny, and I even remembered what car it was! A+ for James Bond-ish content, complete with an exploding building!

At the end of the 3rd quarter, after three good ones from Lexus, Dodge, and Kia, we got a really odd mixed message from Jeep.  The music was the classic Woody Guthrie song "This Land is Your Land", which makes most people think of patriotic USA thoughts, despite his long time political leanings towards Communism and your interpretation of the lyrics, but as the song continued we noticed the images were from around the it wasn't a USA flag waving commercial. Let's see, Jeep is a US brand that is based around Toledo Ohio, but is now owned by FIAT the Italian best guess is that even Jeep is now an international big brand that means a lot to FIAT, so they are making some Jeeps on FIAT platforms, and some Jeeps may be built in Italy. Welcome to the new world order of manufacturing in one fell swoop of a commercial. Too much of a grab bag thing for me, so I'm confused, but am willing to give them a B. Maybe get the real Woody Guthrie to sing it next time.

In the 4th Quarter, only Mercedes Benz made an appearance, and this was another odd one. The commercial starts with the tortoise and the hare starting their big race, had some funny bits like a snail telling the slow moving turtle to move over, but then it turns out to be an add for the hot Mercedes Benz AMG GT. Tortoise jumps in the list price $129,000 two-seater awesome car, and wins the race. Two thoughts on this one: Yes, I'd love to have a cool car like that, and No, a commercial for the most expensive car advertised in the Super Bowl didn't have enough cuteness and comedy for me. If you've got a totally cool car like this, just show it doing it's thing without the cartoon characters, thank you very much. B+ is as high as I can go on this one.

Congrats to the members of the A class (no, not the Mercedes A class either!), here's my take on the final standings:

1-FIAT 500X: A+
2-KIA Sorrento: A+
3-Dodge: A+
4-Lexus RC350: A
5-Chevy Colorado: A-

If you want another opinion, check out Car and Driver magazine's take on the ads at Car and Driver: super-bowl-xlix-car-commercials

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