20 Memorable Super Bowl car adverts
Updated: Mar 21
Let's take time this week to think about the big game on Sunday, where Tampa Bay will host Super Bowl LV which will be played by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But one thing different this year, is that the host stadium won't be sold out due to pandemic reasons and the majority of NFL fans will be watching from the comfort of their home. Commercials have always been a big part of the game, especially since the 1990's. With companies paying millions of dollars per 30 second spot (not including production), companies and businesses aim to produce the best commercial they can for it. So, in no particular order, here are a few memorable car adverts from over the years.
So for our first one, let's talk about one from Super Bowl LIV, this was Bill Murray's first ever commercial, outside of movie and television trailers, but Jeep wanted to make an impression and did some deep thinking, and went for a remake of something classic rather than something new, something to differ from it's other truck selling brother, RAM. Best part is, Jeep took into thinking and remembering that Groundhog's day, was also the same day of the Super Bowl that year.
In Super Bowl XLIX, Mercedes-Benz took a classic tale and decided to give our underdog, a little bit of help in their retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare. The Mercedes AMG GT advert, cost nearly $8million to make, while adding another $9million for the one minute spot ($4.5 per 30sec run) for this commercial, being almost the same cost as a small film or television series. Quite a bit of money, for a car that has already changed up quite a bit in six years time.
In 1997, during Super Bowl XXXI, Nissan took to the air with their very own flight squadron in what is known as the "Nissan Pigeons Commercial" which brought about the Nissan Maxima and it's ability to accelerate, out corner, and out brake the air birds. The commercial took shape with the mission briefing, select attire, and the targeting graphics. It even brought out Kenny Loggins and his "Danger Zone" most recognizable from the Tom Cruise film, Top Gun.
There's nothing more realistic that happens when a group of car enthusiasts meet up for a nightly hang out, than the 1970 Super Bowl IV commercial from Pontiac, called the Humbler commercial. Group of people hanging out with their cars, music to boot, and the sounds of thee car roaring, gathering the attention of everyone. Pontiac introduced the GTO Humbler option which let its driver pull a lever on the dash which controlled the car's vacuum operated exhaust (VOE) to relieve back pressure and bestowing a positively evil exhaust note. All for not though, GM practically pulled the options off the GTO immediately (Only 240 were produced with this package) and the commercial only aired this one and only time. The vaccum operatd exhaust was before it's time though, as it's still used today, like the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger Hellcats for example.
Let's get back at Nissan with their Super Bowl XLIX commercial, titled "With Dad." The commercial talks about a race car driver and his time away from the family to compete in endurance racing. Barely home and chasing his dream, it shows from beginning to end of a father and the strain it puts on the family for barely being home. Along the way, you can find various classes of Nissan race cars in different racing divisions, the ups and downs of racing, and an ending that can prove to be a bit touching while showing you a glimpse, of the then brand new redesigned Nissan Maxima.
From sons, to daughters. Audi brings a strong message with the Super Bowl LI commercial simply titled, "Daughter" The commercial tells the inner thoughts of a father and his worry of his daughter growing up in an unequal world just because she's a girl. The many ways and many things she can't do and all the while, competing with the boys down a Soap Box Derby race. In the end, he does come to a conclusion once the race is over as they enter his Audi S5 Sportback to leave. This one minute commercial pushes a strong message, and shows that it is fully backed by Audi.
So speaking of daughters, there's nothing like a father who looks out for his children, especially when his daughter goes out on a date. Hyundai took to world of digital mapping with the "Car Finder" app with actor/comedian Kevin Hart in 2016's Super Bowl L, "First Date" with their new Hyundai Genesis. A car, which has now moved onto supporting it's own name as a luxury division for Hyundai, with 5 models and still growing.
Some say that there's nothing out there in the world, like dad jokes and pranks. I should know, I'm a dad. But there is something to be said about a dad who will do something when the opportunity presents itself, as Volkswagen did in Super Bowl XLV. With the Imperial March playing, a young boy tries to use "The Force" on various things, living or not, in the house. His father arrives home from work and his son runs out heading straight to the car, trying to use "The Force" on the new 2011 Volkswagen Passat. Seeing what happens, I'm pretty sure any father in that situation would have done the same thing.
One of the more controversial commercials to come from the Super Bowl, came from Chevrolet and it's "Apocalypse" commercial that aired during 2012's Super Bowl XLVI. It showed that Chevy Trucks could survive an apocalypse where those who didn't, would not. The commercial even name drops Ford into the mix. Of course, Ford, Toyota, and Honda sent letters telling Chevy to remove the commercial, or face legal actions. Chevy eventually pulled the ad and stated that their advertising was "Going in a different direction"
So about trucks, Toyota presented their Tundra in this Super LII commercial with a variety of people of different backgrounds, ethnicity, and beliefs, could all come together for one, simple, sport. Showing off it's prototype for the mid-cycle refresh of the Toyota Tundra, it proves that sometimes, you can't look at what makes us different, but what makes us the same.
Hyundai definitely likes to show family, and with a mom who will help her son from being bullied with the Super Bowl XLVII commercial, "Tackle" which shows a young boy who gets his football taken from him and told to come back when he has a team. Mom takes him around town in the new 7-seat Hyundai Santa Fe to gather up his buddies, who seem just a bit more than just being kids.
Porsche took to the commercial waves in 2020 during Super Bowl LIV showing off it's heritage of cars. From a Carrera GT, 911's, Speedster, 918, the Le Mans 917, and the introduction of the new Taycan Turbo S. The Porsche commercial was shot in November and post production finished up just in time for the big game. It displayed their history and beauty in a small, tantalizing two minute-thirty second spot.
For Super Bowl XLVI, Acura wanted to show off it's new NSX, and let us know it was on the way here for everyone. But due to some unforeseen events and miscues, we didn't get the NSX for another 4 years as a 2016 model. As much fun as this commercial looks and the efforts of obtaining VIN 001, that car actually went to NASCAR owner Rick Hendrick, with a winning bid of $1.2 Million at 2016's Barrett-Jackson event in Scottsdale, Arizona. All of it of course, going towards the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground charities.
This commercial hits a little close to home with this RAM Truck advert that played during Super Bowl LII. The Vikings had a chance to be the first NFL team to play the Super Bowl in their own backyard, but sadly, came off a terrible loss to the City of Brotherly Love. As RAM paraded on a trip with fellow Norsemen to Minneapolis, two endings were filmed with one to be in use, and the other to be left on the cutting room floor. Obviously, most Viking and Eagle fans know which one was used.
For Super Bowl 50, trying to break the mold, Toyota decided to launch the redesigned Toyota Prius trying to show that it can be fast, maneuverable, safe, quietness, and long lasting with it's hybrid technology. So, how else can you show that kind of stuff off? Why, with a large scale car chase after robbing a bank of course! Toyota wanted to prove the Prius can be fun, and not this dull or joke of a car in the world. Did they succeed? I have no idea. But I'll tell you this, the commercial looked fun to make.
When Ford decided to unveil the new Ford GT, they did it during one the the biggest, most watched spectacles of the year around the world, the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XXXVIII to be exact. As a 2005 model, they took simplicity of just showing off their new super car accelerating, bending, and braking around a track. Sound of the motor and great exhaust notes, little shots of the interior and a minor voice over, Ford took to the airwaves with an admiring angle of their new "Pace car, for an entire company."
During a time when Vampires were all the rage and at the top of marketing for television, books, movies, and etc. Audi decided to join in on the fun with their 2012 Super Bowl XLVI commercial featuring their all new LED technology for their daytime headlamps. Lights so bright, they anger those driving in the opposite direction and eliminate, those who only come out in the night.
Super Bowl 50 brought us another great commercial with the new Hyundai Tucson providing us with another way to show team spirit. Along with personal property damage, as long it's for the team, and it works, it'll ease things over with the wife. Because if you remember, Defense wins championships.
Another commercial brought to us by Hyundai, didn't even air during the game. This Hyundai Kona commercial aired before the pre-game of Super Bowl LII and I have to say, it's probably one of my favorites. While being fan of the game of football, and futebol, it was kind of nice to see things come together in one advert. It even shows, that not all heroes wear capes, but sometimes, in stripes.
One of the most memorable car adverts played during Super Bowl LIII isn't even about selling or marketing cars. It comes from Walmart actually had already played this commercial at the 2019 Golden Globe awards, but ran it again during the big game. It highlights the ease and quickness of Walmart's Grocery and Curbside Pick-up services. Now since it's original air date, there have been multiple variations of the ad with several different cars. Regardless of which version you've seen, I'm pretty sure you can recognize all of the cars shown in the commercial.
Now I am sure there are a few here and there that I have missed and some that I couldn't find. All in all, with a short lived run time, these are still great and memorable to watch. 2021's Super Bowl LV will surely bring us a few more to watch and talk amongst family, friends, and coworkers after the game. People searching Youtube or checking social media for who had the best, funniest, or worst commercial of the day. And with the current Pandemic occurring, Super Bowl ads are going to be make or break with everyone practically at home watching the big game, even with its $5.5 million per 30sec price tag.
Let us know in the comments on what your favorite Super Bowl car commercial is. Or of one that may not be listed, either way, can't wait for Sunday.
Chevy "Grad" - 2012
Audi "Commander" - 2016
Hyundai "Ryansville" - 2016
Chrysler "Imported from Detroit" - 2011
Hyundai "Smaht Pahk" - 2020
Volkswagen "Beetle" - 2011
Kia "Feel Something Again" - 2018
Lexus "Let's Play" - 2015
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