The Top 3 Car Ads of Super Bowl LII

Did you hear there was a big football game on TV last night? No? Well, there was, and the team that was heavily favored to win from a statistical (but not an emotional) standpoint…didn’t. But enough about the game…how about those commercials?

Now, we don’t think we’re alone in feeling that the quality and quantity of automotive ads aired during the game was a bit lacking this year, which is why we’ve culled this year’s list from the usual five to just three. But we think you’ll agree that these three stood helmet and shoulder pads above the others.

Jeep, “Anti-Manifesto”

Like all advertisements, car ads are meant to sell something, specifically vehicles. But lately, car companies have been engaging in selling something intangible: Their brands. Pushing stuff like marque history, hackneyed platitudes and lifestyle activities with little or no real connection to the brand has, sadly, become commonplace. Thankfully, Jeep said no to that with the above ad featuring the new Wrangler. No fluff, no celebrity on screen (though Jeep did do one of those too, with Jeff Goldblum), and no schmaltzy brand manifesto some recently-graduated MBA dudebro fished out of his rectum; just a Jeep doing Jeep things. More of this, please.

Kia, “Feel something again”

The quest for a means of reversing the aging process probably began about 10 seconds after the first instance of a pre-human hominid noticing some of his fur was turning gray. In the untold hundreds of centuries since, science has taken baby steps, but there is yet to be a bona fide “fountain of youth.” However, that didn’t deter Kia from going to that well (pardon the pun) for its spot hawking the exciting Stinger 5-door sport sedan. Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler turning back the clock by lapping a speedway in reverse? We get it…but what was double Formula 1 world champion and double Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi doing there?

Yes, it’s a race track and he’s a legendary race car driver, but what’s the connection? Did he do some of the development driving? Will we be seeing a version with Emmo doing trunk-first hotlaps to get back to his dashing young Lotus 72 driving self? And how, pray tell, did Kia expect the 99.9997% of Super Bowl viewers who don’t follow motorsports to recognize him? Answers on a postcard, please…

Toyota, “One Team”

A rabbi, a priest, an imam and a Buddhist monk get into a pickup truck. No, it’s not the setup for a joke (though there are a lot of potential roads to travel down to reach a punchline), but rather the opening for one of Toyota’s two Super Bowl LII commercials. With all the talk of America being more divided than it’s been in generations, the occasional reminder that we’re one big family (albeit a dysfunctional one) is welcome…even if it is ostensibly to help sell Tundras…