Alexander Carabitses

Well, the one-hundredth year of the NFL has come to a close with the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. It was certainly an enjoyable game to watch and unlike the trainwreck that was last year's lineup of Super Bowl spots, this year's game featured a number of clever, amusing, and heartwarming ads that got the job done.

A number of automakers partook in this year's festivities with the results being somewhat mixed. Porsche's The Heist spot is a perfect example of this as the first half featured every car fanatic's wet dream within the Porsche museum, while the second half devolved into a reinterpretation of Toyota's fairly recent "Tag" spot. Although I did get a chuckle seeing a Porsche tractor get stuck on cobblestone and am intrigued by the teased next-gen 911 GT3, this commercial is average at best.
(Image credited to Porsche)

I know that most people will still enjoy the Porsche spot to a high degree and that's perfectly fine because this is, of course, a highly subjective matter. Bear that in mind as I begin to rip apart Jeep's Groundhog Day spot because I, along with everyone I watched the game with, was totally confused by it. Now I know that if I had seen the movie Groundhog Day I would have enjoyed it more and I should point out that Bill Murray is quite funny, but placing the Jeep Gladiator in this ad is strange since this sort of humor is the antithesis of Jeep's branding.
(Image credited to Jeep)

But Jeep and FCA excelled compared to Audi's Let it Go spot. As much as I like the song and Maisie Williams, Audi's effort at proselytizing about sustainability is both instantly forgettable and short-sighted since it doesn't explicitly mention the e-Tron Sportback. Toyota's Big Game commercial was not a standout ad by any means, but it certainly got the job done. The same can be said for Kia's Tough Never Quits spot, which is both inspirational and peculiar since the manifesto within it can only be related to Kia, itself, by those in the know. Genesis's Going Away Party was quite satisfying, much like the new Genesis GV80 featured within it.
(Image credited to Audi)
(Image credited to Toyota)
(Image credited to Kia)
(Image credited to Genesis)

I also like what GMC brought to the party with its Quiet Revolution spot that teased the reincarnated Hummer (this time it will be an EV pickup). No, nothing about it was groundbreaking, as the purpose of this ad was to generate buzz about the return of the Hummer nameplate, and I think it accomplished this mission. It did so without teasing a random, unnamed selection of models like Audi did last year and without marketing a vehicle that's at least 10 months away from going on sale as if it's on dealer lots right now (à la the Ford Mustang Mach-E).
(Image credited to GMC)

However, my favorite automotive ad of Super Bowl LIV is Hyundai's Smaht Pahk ad, featuring the new Sonata. Like last year's Palisade ad, Hyundai ticked all of the right boxes by incorporating light-hearted humor with a memorable product presentation. Having grown up in New England and having heard this accent my entire life, I also found the commercial to be very relatable.
(Image credited to Hyundai)

This year's lineup of Super Bowl spots is certainly a step in the right direction, although it's still not quite what it used to be. As far as the automakers are concerned, Hyundai has been knocking it out of the park lately, and its Genesis luxury arm now appears to be doing the same. Nonetheless, there are still a lot of automakers that can certainly do a lot better in the future.

Thank you for reading and have a good week.
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