The Top 8 Car Commercials of Super Bowl XLIX

If you like your Super Bowls with a little of everything, then yesterday’s Super Bowl XLIX was right in your wheelhouse. But in between plays that made America say “Did that just happen?” and “What were they thinking?” advertisers brought out the big guns to take advantage of all the eyeballs that would be on them (of course, with NBC charging $4.5 million for 30 seconds of commercial time, it would be foolish to not put together something big and memorable). Car companies were no exception, but some manufacturers’ spots grabbed and held our attention better than others. Here are the eight that met that criteria.

Kia, “The Perfect Getaway”

Can’t remember what projects Pierce Brosnan has been a part of since he departed the role of James Bond? Join the club. However, the former 007 has resurfaced in a spot for the Kia Sorento. His agent Chad is pitching a garden-variety car commercial within the commercial to him, but the Irish-American thespian clearly wants something with more weapons and intrigue, and he kinda almost gets it, we guess…

BMW, “Newfangled Idea”

Twenty-one years ago the Internet and all that it encompassed was still very new and very foreign to people that weren’t computer science students or their instructors. Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel – then the anchors of NBC’s Today – were no exception to this, and BMW decided to reunite them and reinvigorate their luddite-ness in this ad for the i3, an electric car that is very much unlike anything else on the road at present. Now we can’t help wondering if anyone will be trotting them back out in 2036 to pitch the latest virtual reality neuron-interrupter implant…

Fiat, “The Fiat Blue Pill”

It’s an inescapable fact of life: The older people get, the more trouble they have, uh, reaching the proper physical state for whoopee-making. The older Italian gent in Fiat’s ad is no exception; unfortunately, his last hope of salvation misses his mouth and takes a wild ride through the village, only to land in the fuel filler neck of an innocent Fiat 500. Then it’s “Hey, presto, the brand new Fiat 500X!” Those little blue pills are more potent than anyone thought…

Toyota, “My Bold Dad”

When we are young, our fathers can seem a lot like superheroes. They are strong and brave, yet sensitive and nurturing enough to make a kid feel loved and empowered. The young lady in this ad for the redesigned Toyota Camry has just such a dad, as we see a succession of events from her childhood illustrating when he was there for her. The spot culminates with the daughter embarking on a journey that requires strength and bravery, while the dad is the one left in awe. This one lands a solid punch right in the feels, man.

Mercedes-Benz, “Fable”

The main message in the Aesop fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” is, in case you’ve forgotten or somehow managed to flunk Kindergarten, slow-and-steady wins the race. Well, in Mercedes-Benz’s retelling of the tale, which stars a cast of CGI woodland creatures and the smokin’ Mercedes-AMG GT, the moral has been amended to allow for an extra turn of speed. Classic lit purists no doubt would have preferred to see Mr. Tortoise in a certain other Mercedes-Benz product, but there’s not much that’s better than a sleek supercar at getting and holding the red-blooded football watcher’s attention.

Nissan, “With Dad”

Toyota wasn’t the only automaker to play the Dad Card with its Big Game advert; Nissan also took the paternal route with its 90-second commercial, “With Dad.” Set to the Harry Chapin classic “Cat’s in the Cradle,” we see a man and his wife welcome a baby boy into the world, followed by alternating cuts of the dad jetting off to race Nissans and the boy staying home with mom, with fleeting instances of father-son bonding/family time interspersed, and wrapping on a particularly poignant moment. The airing of the spot during the game marked the official world debut of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, the company’s outrageous Ben Bowlby designed front-engine LMP1 racecar, with a surprise cameo at the end by the 2016 Maxima (also making its public debut); we’re super geeked-out by the GT-R LM NISMO (Seriously, it may be the most radical real-life racecar built during our lifetime.) and, um, perplexed by the Maxima (Creases! Lines! Flourishes atop embellishments!).

Jeep, “Beautiful Lands”

Jeep is an unmistakably American brand, but its products are available in many international markets. And the smallest production Jeep in a long time – the Fiat-based Renegade – is sure to be the nameplate’s best-seller in lands where fuel costs three or four times what it does here. So it’s fitting that this year’s Super Bowl ad featured Renegades motoring not just around the country, but around the world. If nothing else, it’s a much less imposing automotive ambassador for the U.S. than, say, a military-spec Humvee…

Lexus, “Let’s Play”

Coupes are, by their very nature, impractical indulgences of cars, “toys for big kids,” if you will. Instead of running away from this reputation, Lexus chose to embrace it with “Let’s Play,” a spot that stars the RC350. It also stars a gaggle of miniature radio control RC350s drifting around and performing various stunts. Who says you have to grow up?