Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 Superbowl Car Ads: Winners and Losers!

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos for winning Superbowl L, I mean fifty! Besides the football game, of course the main attraction was the halftime and pregame shows! For halftime with Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars, it was very slickly produced and choreographed, so whether or not you liked it probably just comes down to whether or not you like those artists. Pre-game, Lady Gaga on the Anthem and my military friends doing a patriotic number were very good, so that leaves just one more thing to discuss...

OK, on to the commercials!


The first car/truck ad was from Hyundai. It started with a baby with a tiny little engine beating on his chest, and we followed this kid as he grew up and went through things in life, always with an engine pumping away on the outside of his chest. I guess the theme was something about engines that drive us, and it was rather OK in a serious yet lighthearted but not funny way. I found it totally forgettable, and grade it:   C

Hyundai followed that up with a Genesis commercial featuring comedian Kevin Hart. Kevin's daughter was going out on a date, and Kevin suggested to the boyfriend to take his car. Pretty soon we realize that Kevin is following them, seeing where they are going like any overly protective dad would do, to include spying on the date from a helicopter. Anyway, it was funny, and the point was that the Genesis has some kind of technology that lets you track it. Also, I believe Hyundai is now using Genesis as a stand alone brand, so we'll be seeing more models of Genesis cars. For the humor, I have to say this one rates:     A

1st Quarter

Hyundai came at us again in the 1st quarter with a cute ad showing a couple being chased by bears in the woods. The guy tells his car to start remotely, so they manage to escape the bears. It turns out the bears just wanted to be friendly, so we get the point that the car has remote start. Not totally hilarious, but pretty good, let's say a:     B

Next up came quite an amazing commercial. We saw one of the Apollo astronauts at home, now he's and elderly guy, and apparently he's not eating or taking an interest in anything. I'll assume it's his son that shows up and ends up taking him out, so that the astronaut can drive the awesome Audi R8. This is a V-10 motor that does over 200 mph, so the guy is now driving and his face lights up, and the imagery is connecting driving this mega-Audi to being on a rocket. As a bonus, it uses the song "Starman" from the recently passed on David Bowie, and then the ad has a message of something like "chasing the moon brings out the best in us". It was a bit unusual with the depressing start of the commercial, unusual in using a lesser known old Bowie tune, but let's say:  B+

To change the mood, before the end of the 1st quarter we saw a new Buick convertible just a bit in a funny commercial where after a wedding the bride throws the flowers, and a couple of ladies go for the catch like NFL receivers. After making a diving catch, several folks comment "totally Odell'd it". They mentioned the name of the car only once, and hardly showed it, so I think the big news is that Buick is making a convertible again!:   A-

Into the second quarter, and we got an ad that has some cranked up old Van  Halen music, but oddly some of it is the isolated vocal tracks of David Lee Roth from "Running With the Devil", a lot of his trademark "whoooo"   "yeahhhhhhhh" type of high pitched singing. Following Davids "Whooo" exclamations, the screen says "What he said", in reference to the new Acura NSX. Well, I like super cars like the NSX, and Van Halen is good for plain old hard rockin' to introduce a cool car, so for me I'm giving them a big fat:   A

We saw a Hyundai Elantra ad featuring two ladies driving through a neighborhood where every person was Ryan Reynolds. Since they almost run over the Ryan that is walking some dogs, the ad then points out that the Elantra comes with automatic braking and passenger detection as safety features. Funny ad, let's say;     B+

Not a car ad, but car related, the Weather Tech folks showed us an ad to let us know they make car floor mats and other products, all here in the USA. Hey, close enough for jazz, a straight ahead tug at the ol' USA heartstrings from a car related product, so here's your:   B+

The TV announcers reminded us that the Jeep Halftime Report was coming up, so get ready for some Jeep commercials later.

Prius 4 is a new model, and of course the Prius is the top selling Hybrid. Anyway, this commercial started to be pretty good, showing some bank robbers leaving the bank, but their old hoopty was being towed away. They look around and jump in a Prius to escape, and leave a bag of money there for the owner! Somewhere in this ad the police are chasing the Prius but can't keep up, and the radio dispatcher says something like "how hard is it to catch a Prius", so I'll assume the new Prius is peppier and has more horsepower or torque. At this point I thought it was pretty good, but then it dragged on and on (must have been a full minute but seemed longer) showing them being chased, and then a series of popular culture references to them outrunning the police and other short bits where they avoided the police. I think this one would have been more effective as a shorter commercial, so: B


I saw an ad at halftime that was terrible, showing some car dealer and the website www.autoconnection.com that then wrapped up referring to the new Taco Bell Quesalupa, so right now I don't know if it was a fake car ad from Taco Bell, or a combo ad from a car company with Taco Bell meant to be like your local cheesy commercials. Confused:  F

Jeep finally aired an ad after their Halftime Report, which showed a lot of black and white photos of faces, related a bit of Jeep history dating back to WWII, and then concluded with "We don't make Jeeps, you do, 75 years", so I guess this was their somber look at 75 years of Jeeps:  C

Toyota ran a very basic B-flat ad for the Rav4 small SUV, and it was very well done, plain, simple, said that it was the most trusted brand and that 90% of all the Rav4s sold in the last 10 years are still on the road. In other words, a very average commercial from 10 years ago, and just about the most basic commercial of this year's Superbowl:  C-

3rd Quarter

Ooh, a funky Mini Cooper Clubman ad had Serena Williams and a bunch of celebrities all saying "this is a chick car", "this is a guy car", etc. I liked it because it was not just funny or weird, it just had it's own character, which probably describes the Mini:    B+

OK, a truck ad, this one for Honda Ridgeline. A truck drives away from a herd of sheep out in the country, and the sheep start singing the Queen song "Somebody to Love". Apparently the point of this ad was that the truck has audio in the bed, so the sheep were singing along with the radio when the truck drove away and came back. Also funny was the dog talking at the end to narrate something about the truck:  A

Our local station had a couple of ads from local car dealerships, nothing to write home about, they both get:     C

Jeep came back with a pretty cool commercial, again to highlight 75 years of Jeep. This ad showed a lot of outdoor activities, off roading, hang gliding, etc, and ended with "4x4ever":    B

4th Quarter

A commercial with some guy picking out socks in his bedroom came on. His wife tells him to find some in the closet, so he walks into the closet, and sitting there is Christopher Walken. Walken tells the guy not to wear boring beige socks, to do something more, such as (snaps fingers, wall opens up to reveal a car), drive a Kia Optima! Walken makes this a funny commercial, and then at the end he's in the passenger seat still encouraging the guy, "Punch it Richard, come on, punch it!":   A+

Not a car ad, but car related, we were treated to seeing Helen Mirren sitting in a restaurant, and basically in a very British way tells us not to drink and drive, and in a very descriptive manner tells us what she thinks of people that do! Sponsored by Budweiser, this was probably the best "don't drink and drive" ad, speech, class, I've every seen!   A

Well, that's all the car/truck and automotive related ads I saw until the game ended (to be followed by the Toyota Post Game Show), so if there was an awesome Toyota or other ad after that, well, I didn't see it.

Let's review the top graded spots:

A    Genesis
A-   Buick Convertible
A    Acura NSX
A    Honda Ridgeline
A+  Kia Optima

So for me, the Kia Optima, thanks to Christopher Walken takes top prize. I was sorry there wasn't any new FIAT "blue pill" type funny commercials, but sometimes that's the way it goes. Overall even the other commercials didn't seem to be as funny and creative as usual, although Doritos and Heinz had funny spots. Honorable mention to Budweiser for their Don't Drink and Drive ad too, thank you Helen Mirren!

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