OK, so I am cheating a bit this week because there were only about 15 auto commercials in the Superbowl (I can hear it now – ‘So how can you have the top 10 when there were only 15?’). And I am sure you have already seen list after list of the commercials and pundits telling you which ones worked and which ones didn’t. So why do you need another list? You don’t, but that never stopped me before.
Before I get into the list of Top 10, I need to take a moment and cast my vote for worst automotive commercial in the Superbowl. Drum roll please………. Acura – Transactions (better known as the NSX Seinfeld/Leno debacle). You may ask why I call it a debacle but if you have seen the concept car in Detroit you would understand why. The car is pretty much stunning, but it was shown in the commercial for all of 2.37 seconds (OK, I made that last part up but they really showed very little of it). Perhaps they were worried that it would get too many people excited who would then they would run to the dealers and find out it is still 3 years away. At what it will probably cost I think they needn’t worry about that too much. But isn’t blind interest in a new product the holy grail of advertising? I am not an advertising person so perhaps their strategy is beyond my meager comprehension, but when you make a beautiful car you should show pictures of it – not a couple of comedians, at least one of which only appeals to old people (the median age for Tonight show viewers is over 55).
Aside from the Acura ad, there were plenty that did absolutely nothing for me. A big congrats to the agencies for both Hyundai and Toyota for making a bunch of commercials that made me want to buy a Suzuki (no offense to Mr. Suzuki). Hyundai starts the list off with All for One – 1) In my experience Designers are usually the ones who dream and the other departments say no, 2) I don’t want assembly line workers to play drums on my trunk and 3) who cast Doubting Thomas as a designer (NOTE! he is not a real designer – he is not wearing a black turtleneck). Then there was Cheetah, Think Fast, Faster Acting and Victory Lap <sigh>. Toyota’s might even be worse as was not much better with Connections, and The Beast from Lexus. Superbowl commercials aren’t cheap, these 4 wasted minutes is roughly equivalent to $28 million.
By the way, when searching online for links to these commercials I stumbled on to a few I missed during the pre-game. One was Chevrolet Volt – Busted Aliens and the other Suzuki – Dog Sled. Both were pretty good – not good enough for the top 10 but neither bad enough for the Hall of Shame above. But the Chevrolet Volt – Come On would definitely have made it – Hilarious!
I loved this commercial, not so much because it spoke to me, but because I think it talks to Sonic’s target audience. And the tie-in to the Sonic Stunt website was excellent. I am not sure the OKGo song video version will make it on the charts but Chevy’s choice of music was also impeccable.
Honda gets bonus points for being clever, but the mix of Ferris Buehler and the CR-V is not a match made in heaven. Remember these scenes? Honda would have been much better pairing the Acura NSX with Ferris and the CRV with Leno. And they would have ranked even higher on this list if they would have brought back Ben Stein too. Sometimes you just can’t beat nostalgia.
#8 Chevrolet – Apocalypse
There are reports in the media Ford asked Chevrolet and NBC to run a revised ad. If true I am thankful neither complied because I found this ad both funny and on point. What better way to demonstrate dependability – I had no idea Twinkies were that durable. Let’s get back to the days when car makers compared their cars to their competitors straight-up and get rid of these silly 30 seconds of that play on emotions (like the famous 1989 Infiniti commercials that didn’t even show the cars).
What could be better than a car on a race track? How about having Adriana Lima as the flag girl? Can’t get enough of her in the TV commercial? Try watching her wave the flag for 5 hours (I only made it 137 minutes). In truth the commercial had a bit too much to take in – sort of like the director had some ADD issues. But you cannot argue 5 hours of Adriana Lima – it kind of sounds like a new sports car race to me. Where do I sign up?
Car on a race track – CHECK. Car at a race track getting up on two wheels – DOUBLE CHECK. The commercial may not be the most clever, in fact many say it was cliche, but I think it is still effective. The ATS is a new entry and the first commercial for it sets the tone – it is supposed to be a driver’s car. I will wait and reserve judgement until GM delivers my tester (hint hint). ATS at Nürburgring – solid!
I personally wasn’t a huge fan of this commercial when I first saw it but I have to admit it is growing on me. It works on a couple of levels – cute dog for the women, Star Wars for the geeks (I mean guys). Oh year, there is a car in there too. The new Beetle (as opposed to the New Beetle) gets a brief shot at the end. I still don’t think many guys are going to buy this car.
Another commercial that may have been a bit cliche but still gets the point across was the Happy Grad Camaro. Who among us cannot relate? (OK, I can’t because I never got a car as a gift, but I can imagine that this is what it would be like).
I cannot tell you how much I liked this commercial. Personally I think it hits the mark for everything I look for in a commercial – excellent description of a feature or features and a wry sense of humor. Audi headlights are like daylight! – I want to buy one just to rid my house of all the vampire books and TV shows my daughter reads and watches. By the way, I love Echo and the Bunnymen.
Boy, this one is getting a lot of discussion in the press. Political or not, I think it is the perfect follow-up to last year’s commercial, one of the best all-time. It does, however, cause me to think about next year. Will we get a 3rd quarter commercial or a game over?
Perhaps the biggest disappointment this year was the fact the best commercial of the Superbowl wasn’t a new commercial at all – but one that has been around for a while. Not that it was bad – in fact the Abarth commercial is already on my list of all time greatest. But that means the rest of the agencies just missed the mark. By the way, if you want to understand what she is saying, check out Jalponik here.
Come back on Friday as we return with a 10 Questions for Bruce Youngs.