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Automotive Super Bowl Ads

9th February 2010

Car makers are always among those who pony up the big bucks to advertise in the Super Bowl. This year was no exception, even though the 2 nickels to rub together would represent a doubling of the cash balance of certain automakers. Hyundai was the most prominent of all, having several ads and being the name sponsor of the kick-off show this year. The first 5 automotive ads were from Hyundai. Take a look.

Hyundai started off with a Tucson ad. It’s a fine ad, but the Super Bowl has raised expectations of its ads so that if it’s not really clever and original, it isn’t any good. There’s nothing wrong with this ad. On the contrary, it nicely tells you about a certain attribute and why you should care. It just doesn’t stand out at all on Super Sunday.

Then this Sonata ad. Ditto.

After the coin flip (won by the Saints – the 13th time in a row that the NFC has one the Super Bowl coin flip), Hyundai gave us this gem. This one’s better, as the visual grabs your attention.

About 15 minutes later, Hyundai gave us this one, which shows a Sonata getting its electrocharge bath and then getting painted. All this while Mozart’s and Shubert’s sonatas play in the background. Get it? Again, this one grabs your attention, especially if you’ve never seen how cars get a bath before being painted.

Then, there was the Brett Favre Hyundai ad, which poked fun at Favre – his age and his indecisiveness about retiring, while comparing his longevity to Hyundai’s. This one is the only Hyundai ad that really seems like a Super Bowl ad.

Finally, we get to an ad from somebody else. This next ad is from Dodge, and has generated controversy for 2 reasons. First, Chrysler was criticized by some gods of the Potomac for spending Super Bowl-type money to buy this ad time. Personally, I think they should buy the ad time if they think it will get them the exposure they need and make some sales. When Congress starts questioning ad buys, they’ve really gone out of their expertise, assuming they have any. Second, the ad itself, like a long line of Dodge advertising, has been blasted in some quarters for being sexist and denigrating – to both sexes! If you’ve offended everybody, then you really have accomplished something in my book.

During halftime, there was a local Ford Fusion ad (in Detroit), which I won’t bore you with. It compared the Fusion to the Toyota Camry, and gave a lease payment. Not really Super Bowl material.

Acura chimed in later in halftime with this ad for the ZDX. This wasn’t a new ad for the Super Bowl. I’ve made my views known about the ZDX, and this ad didn’t change anything. I think the “?” floating around her head at the beginning might mean she’s trying to figure out what the hell that “car” is that is driving by. Maybe it’s just me. As I said, it isn’t new, so it’s not surprising to say that it really isn’t Super Bowl material either.

Volkswagen chimed in next during the 3rd quarter. It shows a reinvention of an old game involving the bug. This spot is called Punch Dub. It’s clever and lives up to the demands of the Super Bowl audience.

The next auto ad is from Kia, Hyundai’s little brother. This one is very clever, with toys that have come to life living out their fantasies. Alas, at the end, they are back to their normal existence. This one is certainly Super Bowl material. Well done.

Honda gave us this ad for the Accord Crosstour, which fits into the same so-called “category” as the Acura ZDX. That is to say, “none.” I like the ad, though. It gets your attention and conveys the product attributes that Honda wants you to know.

Late in the 4th quarter, Audi gave us this gem. This ad works on all levels. It promotes the car’s 2 attributes that Audi wants to show – it’s economical or green and it’s fun to drive. It also grabs your attention and makes you want to watch it. Over and over again.

Later in the fourth, Hyundai ran the ad with the employees carrying the Sonata again. Then there was a Chevy ad not worthy of the Super Bowl, but it did show us that Chevy has 5 Consumer’s Digest Best Buys. Then, a final ad from Hyundai during the post-game, which is the only one (other than the Brett Favre one) worthy of the Super Bowl Ad moniker. Too bad fewer people saw it, as it was after the game.

So, which are the best? In my mind, there is no contest. Audi’s “Green Police” ad rose above the rest, followed closely by Dodge. They both do what a good ad does – get your attention and then tell you something important about the product so that you remember it. In Audi’s case, it’s the green/fun to drive. In Dodge’s, it’s the male image. That you might give up much on other topics, but you will not compromise your car.

That’s what I think – how about you? Please leave your comments below!

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