Super Bowl XLVIII was a letdown from a game perspective, thanks to the Seattle Seahawks’ lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos.
However, from an entertainment perspective, the first Super Bowl hosted by the New York/New Jersey metro area truly delivered when it came to the reason that most people tune in every year: commercials.
Regardless of what you think about the quality of the commercials, the quantity was plentiful and enough to accommodate the various demographics of those watching – in other words, everyone.
As Tier10 specializes in the automotive vertical, we paid close attention to the many car commercials on display Sunday. After all, the Super Bowl broadcast itself has become the Super Bowl of car commercials.
Below are the 10 best car ads we saw on Super Bowl Sunday. Our rating system focused heavily on creativity and other unique “wow” factors.
10. Hyundai Elantra “Nice”
While it’s always cool to see cars doing stunts and driving through explosions, the highlight of this ad is Hyundai’s subtle use of actor Johnny Galecki. He doesn’t state his name or do a direct pitch to the camera, but his failed attempts at flirting with the young lady in the neighboring Hyundai are no doubt an unspoken tie-in to his Big Bang Theory character, hopeless romantic Leonard Hofstadter.
9. Kia K900 “The Truth”
Lawrence Fishburne reprises his famous Morpheus role while Kia plays off the most memorable scene from the 1999 smash hit The Matrix. While the ad took an odd twist at the end with the impromptu opera singing, it did add a bit more humor to the piece, and the randomness of it made it memorable. Plus, having the Kia brand and its new luxury K900 associated with one of the most popular movies of the past 20 years isn’t a bad thing at all.
8. Volkswagen “Wings”
Volkswagen took the humorous route to make its point about having more vehicles on the road with over 100,000 miles. Two of the scenes stood out in particular for their creativity. First, the bathroom scene was a funny, subtle touch for adults. Meanwhile, the last scene regarding the rainbows tastefully balanced being funny and family friendly, which can be difficult. This spot obviously serves to point to the long-term quality of VW vehicles and the loyalty of VW owners.
7. Audi A3 “Doberhuahua”
Audi, another brand in the VW Group, also went the humorous route to promote its soon-to-be-released A3 model. The highlight of the video was the cameo from musician Sarah McLachlan, who’s also famous for her tear-jerker ASPCA ads.
6. Hyundai Genesis “Dad’s Sixth Sense”
All the near-accidents in this spot kept viewers glued to their couches – serving almost as a montage fit for America’s Funniest Home Videos or even Tosh.0. Sprinkle in a little touch of humor – boy gets distracted by pretty girl – and play with the heartstrings a little bit, and you have a good recipe for a memorable TV spot.
5. Maserati Ghibli “Strike”
The Italian luxury brand made a splash with its long-form ad filled with a lot of direct symbolism. Maserati, which is part of the Fiat Chrysler group, did “strike” just as the title said with its first ad to air in the U.S. market. The ad promoted the all-new Ghibli, which will have a starting MSRP of $66,900 and will compete head-to-head with the likes of the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. The dramatic, almost movie-like feel to the ad, coupled with a great script and voiceover from young actress Quvenzhané Wallis, was also in line with other Chrysler ads in past Super Bowls, such as Clint Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” and the original “Made in Detroit” spot with Eminem.
4. Honda “Hugfest”
The formula for this ad was easy to decipher: simplicity, plus star power, plus unexpected yet humorous turn of events. While some have nitpicked the opening line for not fitting the blowout game, Bruce Willis’ almost-deadpan delivery actually sounds a bit sarcastic upon re-watching, knowing you’re in for the humorous cameo from Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia fame.
3. Jaguar F-Type Coupe “Rendezvous”
Who doesn’t love a good British villain? What about three British villains? The Super Bowl spot for Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe was a great mix of action and subtle humor while comparing the reasons for including British villains and the great features of a Jaguar. What made the spot, though, was the cameos by three renowned British actors known for their roles in blockbuster movies as villains: Tom Hiddleston (Avengers, Thor), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, Green Lantern, Kick-Ass), and Sir Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3, numerous others films).
2. Ford Fusion Hybrid “Nearly Double”
Ford really hammered its point home in an entertaining manner with 90-seconds straight of commercial time. While the ad was over-the-top and in-your-face for humorous effect, it did repeat the fact about the Fusion Hybrid’s gas mileage four times in the span of the 90 seconds, making sure the viewer doesn’t forget that point. In other words, the humor served to ease the delivery of the direct message.
1. Chevrolet “Life”
Taking the completely opposite approach of the Ford spot, Chevy went the serious route and tied itself to a cause – a great one at that – to create an emotional ad that resonated with an audience as wide as the one watching the Super Bowl. The spot, which General Motors calls “a celebration of cancer survivors,” was very simple and very effective, despite barely showing a vehicle and using minimal branding at the end.