Now that all the victory crab cakes have been consumed and the runner-up Rice-A-Roni has been consigned to the dog’s dish, you have time to reflect on the car ads of yesterday’s near-come-from-behind-thriller of a Super Bowl. What’s that? The boss expects you to work? Pffftt…that can wait ‘til after you’ve watched the 10 automotive adverts we liked best and read what we thought about them. Besides, if you get sacked for slacking, you could always try to hire a lawyer to sue for wrongful termination. We hear Ray Lewis knows a few good ones… (Oh no we didn’t? More like oh yes we did!)
Ever wanted something so badly you’d sell your soul for it? That’s the question facing the young-ish chap pining for the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. The folks at Merc’s marketing department definitely spared zero expense, casting Willem Dafoe as the devil, bringing Usher (Dude!) and Kate Upton (Duuuuude…) in for cameo roles, and bringing a Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 car to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (quite possibly the first time a contemporary F1 car has moved under its own power in the 909 since Rick Mears tested for Brabham at Riverside). Oh, and licensing a track from the Rolling Stones (and a hit, at that) couldn’t have been cheap, either.
Even though we are living in an age of 550hp station wagons and 1,200hp supercars, there are still people in this country who wonder why more power is a good thing. It is for these people, presumably, that Hyundai produced this ad for the Sonata Turbo. You see, o’ denizens of base engines, horsepower helps you get around potential peril. More muscle underhood is a safety feature; cool, huh?
Toyota, “Wish Granted”
Normally, front-drive-car-based crossovers excite us about as much as tofu burgers marinated in NyQuil and served on Lunesta tablet buns. At least the new Toyota RAV4 packs some visual zazzle to offset its likely tepid driving dynamics. As for the Super Bowl spot zazzle, that comes courtesy of the delightful Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory fame. Although we can’t confirm it 100%, we’re quite certain that out of all the daughters of all our mother’s junior high school classmates, Kaley is the prettiest.
Kia, “Space Babies”
If we had to guess what the most dreaded moment in childrearing is, we would assume the moment the little one in question asks where babies come from would be at (or at least near) the top. The father in this spot for the Kia Sorento dodges the messiness of the birds and the bees by way of a tale about a planet populated by babies of all species that travel to earth via rockets. It’s outlandishly cute, and just when you think no one’s going to talk about the Sorento or any of its features…blam! A feature gets touted!
If you’ve been in the market for a luxury car for the last, oh, 20 or so years, Lincoln probably hasn’t been part of the conversation. No need to be embarrassed, they understand. That’s why Ford’s last remaining brand not named Ford wants to tell you that it’s hitting the reset button, starting with the new MKZ. And this 30 second commercial is much like the new MKZ: Suave, stylish, artful, and straight to the point. Now, about your “MK-whatever” naming convention…
Ah, prom. The pageantry, the music, the hanging out by the punchbowl all night while the girl of your dreams dances and grinds with the douchecanoe quarterback you’re tutoring in algebra…sorry, where were we? Oh, Audi’s Super Bowl ad, and how it tells the story of a young man who’s going to prom alone but, after dad tosses him the key to his new Audi S6, his confidents gradually builds up until he does one of the most ballsy things a prom attendee can do. Carpe diem, kid. Carpe diem.
Few places are more pickup truck friendly than a farm. Ram (nee Dodge Ram) is very much aware of this; why else would it make this audiovisual love letter to the American farmer? With verbiage from the late legendary radio host Paul Harvey backing raw, hearty still photos, it’s almost enough to make a person tell his boss to get bent, sell his house in suburbia, and buy 40 acres to tend out in the sticks. Almost. Still a nice ad, though.
As we all know, no manufacturer’s auto show display is complete without beautiful professional product specialists or, to use the more common, knuckle-dragging-misogynist term, booth babes. Kia took the concept of the booth babe one step further in this advert by creating hot humanoid robots. Hot humanoid robots that don’t take kindly to people mistreating the new Forte on display. Yeah, we’re not sure if we’re supposed to be turned on or scared, either.
Volkswagen, “Get in. Get happy.”
The last couple of years, Volkswagen’s Super Bowl ads have drawn all sorts of accolades and attention for their clever concepts and executions. This year’s spot, which is hawking the Beetle, is also cute and clever, with a catchy tune from reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and the hard-to-argue-with message that driving the newest iteration of the Bug (particularly the Turbo) will brighten your day. Of course, the commercial’s bright and cheery message wasn’t enough to stop some folks who have nothing better to do with their days than look for stuff that offends them to claim that this ad has racist undercurrents, even though VW says it screened it for members of the Jamaican-American community and they were cool with it. This is why we can’t have nice things, America.
Jeep, “Whole Again”
But instead of ending this list on a downer, we’ll end it on an upper (Uh, those aren’t drug terms, right? Okay, good.). For the last two years, the ads from the Chrysler Group have been of the proud and uplifting variety, with “Imported from Detroit” in 2011 and “Halftime in America” last year. This year, the Chrysler ad that gave us the feels is “Whole Again,” narrated by a TV network executive named Oprah Winfrey (Perhaps you’ve heard of her?). The spot promotes Jeep’s support of the USO, but to the production team’s credit, they didn’t make it about Jeep so much as they did America’s servicemen and servicewomen, and how we’re all looking forward to them coming home. For the third year in a row, bravo, Mother Mopar.