Monday, February 2, 2015

Teasers, Laughs, Feel Good Stories, and Disappointments: It's Time to Review the Car Commercials of Super Bowl XLIX

Alexander Carabitses

(Image credited to the NFL)

So another Super Bowl has come and gone, and along with it came a bunch of commercials, that instead of being funny, actually made you want to cry.  Don't get me started on the Nationwide commercial, featuring the ghost of a little kid, because that was a bunch of bullshit. The Budweiser Clydesdale commercial was good, and the first of the two Doritos commercials (the one on the airplane) was good as well, along with that avocado commercial.  And how could anybody not like that Victoria's Secret commercial?

However, the car commercials were OK at best this year, as there was some good, some bad, and some ugly.

The Lexus NX commercial was a just a heap of marketing dollars thrown off a cliff for no good reason at all, as was Honda's commercial.  Kia's ad was disappointing for me, at least, but I get the feeling that it was perhaps the most popular one.  Sure it was creative, but it wasn't spectacular.  Speaking of creative, I have to applaud Chevrolet for giving nearly every Super Bowl viewer a heart attack, when they showed what appeared to be game footage, followed by the screen going black; and the whole point was that the new Colorado has 4G LTE, so you can watch the game from your truck.  I also liked what Mercedes did with their commercial, that featured the Tortuous and the Hare fable.  The difference here, is that the tortuous wins with an AMG GT.  That may have just been my favorite commercial out of all of them.  Last of all, Lexus's RC commercial was the most clever thing that I ever saw.  Lexus marketers took advantage of the RC's name and showed it drifting with remote control versions of the RC F. This commercial made up for the NX commercial, will help people remember the name of Lexus's new coupe, and also probably got many people to go to the Lexus merchandise website to look for those remote control cars.  I looked, and they cost $300, by the way.

BMW had quite an interesting ad that pitched the i3.  I don't think it had too much of an impact, because the people who can afford one, know about it, but don't want one.  I think it was funny, but dear God, it only gives millennials a reason to laugh at their parents, for obvious reasons.  By the way, I noticed that BMW played their i8 commercial during the pre-game that no one cared about it because we'd seen it already.  As for the MINI 4-door ad....what a snoozer.

Toyota and Nissan each took the feel good route, and I compliment them for doing so, without taking it to the extreme, like Nationwide did.  Toyota's first ad, "One Bold Choice" was nicely done, but anyone could have done it.  The same goes for "My Bold Dad", which despite nearly bringing a tear to my eye, could have been done by anybody else, and quite frankly, while it was a nice commercial, it wasn't unique enough.  On the other hand, Nissan took a different approach to feel-good, by showing a race car driver who could never be with his son because of his job, until he retired.  Nissan even took the liberty of previewing the next-gen Maxima and their 24 Hours at Le Mans entry for this year, the GTR LM Nismo. I'll reverse final judgment on the Maxima until I see it in person, more than likely at New York.  All in all, this was a really nice, unique take to feel good stories, that didn't bring you to tears.

And now we come t the Chrysler commercials, and my first question is, why did Dodge bother showing the ad that they did, when it had been online since last April.  Sure it was great for anyone who hadn't seen it, and it had a unique theme (Dodge celebrated its 100 year anniversary, by showing 100 year olds, who give badass advice), but for crying out loud, why bother with it at this point?  Also, why wasn't there a commercial for Alfa Romeo?  Isn't this brand trying to relaunch in the U.S.?  Doesn't Chrysler need to get the word out that this brand exists?  I guess not.  Anyway, the Fiat 500x commercial added a bit of mild humor and was nicely done.  However, the Jeep ad for the Renegade was a disaster.  Jeep wanted to emphasize that this new SUV is a global vehicle, and showed footage from all around the world, but fucked it up by playing patriotic music, while showing a Muslim girl.  Long story short, people were pissed off, and rightfully so. Either show the girl, without the music, or don't show the footage of the girl at all.  In all honesty this commercial did nothing for me anyway.  And in the end, I was disappointed with Chrysler's ad efforts this year, especially following last year's Maserati Ghibli and Chrysler 200 commercials.

I won't touch upon the NASCAR commercial too much, because that sucked too, and emphasized all the reasons why people make fun of NASCAR.

In the end, marketing is very important for car companies.  If you consider the commitment to quality and reliability that these companies have made, planned obsolescence is out of the question.  Because of that, good marketing is the only way for companies to be able to convince a person to trade in their perfectly fine, 3 year-old car for a new one.  Its the only way to get customers into the showroom, and it is the only way to prevent an industry recession.  So, were all of the car commercials of Super Bowl XLIX really bad?  Well, no.  But, were they jaw dropping and spectacular?  Hell no!

Feel free to comment on which of these commercials was your favorite, in the Comments section below, as I'm sure everyone has his or her own opinion about the car ads.  If you didn't watch the Super Bowl, you'll easily find these commercials on Youtube.  Have a good week.

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