Analysis: We Choose the Best/Worst Super Bowl Ads

The confetti's already landed in New Orleans, but we here at Automobile are looking at a different sort of winner and loser from last night's big game: the automotive advertisements that won our hearts or just left us cold. We asked our editors, fans, and friends to tweet their responses in real time and then give us an overall view of the automotive ad landscape after the fact. Here's what they said:

Audi: "Prom"

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Trailer, "Fast and Furious 6"

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Hyundai: "Epic Playdate"

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Hyundai: "Team"

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Jeep, "Whole Again"

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Kia, "HotBots"

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Lincoln Motor Company, "Phoenix"

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Lincoln, "Steer the Script"

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Mercedes-Benz, "Soul"

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Ram Trucks, "Farmer"

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Toyota, "I Wish"

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Volkswagen, "Get Happy"

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In Conclusion...

When the dust settled, we asked each other (and you) what your favorites were. And we heard the same few over and over again.  

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor

I feel like the whole Super Bowl commercial thing has jumped the shark, so Chrysler has to be commended for holding back the Jeep and Ram commercials, though I thought they were more manipulative and less interesting than last year's Clint Eastwood commercial, which was less interesting (and less of a shock) than Super Bowl XLV's Eminem commercial (I'm biased, though, by the fact that the Eminem commercial was tied into the Green Bay Packers victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers).

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

I really enjoyed the Super Bowl commercials for the Hyundai Sonata Turbo and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. The former showed a benefit of the product, emphasized some feel-good traits of the Hyundai brand, and was funny enough to stick in my mind. Mercedes played precisely to the CLA's key buyer by emphasizing just how desirable the new car is, as well as how it will appear to others, then pointing out that this aspirational car is priced within the reaches of the average buyer.

Other car commercials seemed so focused on creating a memorable, funny, viral sensation that they forgot to actually advertise their products. What do Volkswagen's Jamaican office worker, Kia's "Babylandia," and Toyota's RAV4 genie tell viewers about the car or the brand? Not a lot, if we're honest.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

I saw an interesting divide on my Facebook and Twitter feeds last night: while Ram’s “Farmer” ad most definitely was the best and most-memorable commercial (“Concept” by Calvin Klein and the Tide “Miracle Stain” ads were close runners up), most of my peers had something to say about the Ram ad’s Christian overtones. Many felt it was inappropriate to use God in a commercial advertisement, while others lauded the tenacity of the automaker to stand by its often-religious demographic. I think the ad is effective (we’re still talking about it, right?), but might not do enough to help with the other divide I saw last night: the number of people talking about “the Dodge ad” versus the one from Ram.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Count me among those who loved the Ram commercial. Kia's decent "Babylandia" ad soon followed it and seemed silly and overdone in comparison with Chrysler's truck spot, which was provocative, somber, refreshing, mature. I hadn't heard Paul Harvey's voice in a very long time but it immediately reminded me of my childhood, growing up with hard-working farmers for neighbors. Chrysler is very good at this. The Oprah/Jeep/USO spot was good, too, but the pessimist in me thought that perhaps even a Super Bowl–size ad budget couldn't pay for Oprah to appear onscreen, as Eminem and Clint Eastwood did the past couple of years. That ad made a lovely patriotic statement, but the product wasn't tied in nearly as well, I thought, as in the Ram/farmer ad. My other favorite was the Mercedes-Benz CLA deal-with-the-devil ad: arresting, funny, informative, well-paced.

David Zenlea, Associate Editor

Ram’s farmer tribute, in a telling contrast with the rest of the crowd, is incredibly simple. The message: farmers are great, and farmers use pickup trucks. The delivery was just slide show with a voice over. We can quibble over whether Ram needs the Dodge name affixed to it or if Paul Harvey really speaks to all Americans. All I know is that for two minutes, everyone at my watching party shut up, looked up from their phones, and watched a commercial. In our over stimulated media environment, that’s a huge accomplishment, one that Chrysler’s managed three years running.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

Unlike most of the automotive ads I saw this year, which were overloaded with cinematic flair or convoluted punch lines, Ram’s spot was refreshingly straightforward. Poignant, beautiful photography of farmers in their element, paired with timeless narrative from the late Paul Harvey – and, on occasion, a few shots of Fiat Group (both Ram Trucks and Case-IH machinery) products interjected for good measure. Did the spot suggest those products are honest, hardworking, dependable, and the backbone of our society? Nowhere as much as it heralded farmers – honest, hardworking, dependable farmers – as the backbone of our country. One could easily argue Ram was advertising agricultural pursuits more than it was its own trucks – a notion furthered by the fact it’s making a donation to the FFA based upon the ad’s view count on YouTube.

 

The Winner: Ram Trucks, "Farmer"

Honorable Mentions: Jeep, "Whole Again;" Mercedes-Benz, "Soul"

The Mixed Verdict: Audi, "Prom"

We Could Have Done Without: Lincoln Motor Co., "Steer the Script;" Kia, "HotBots"

baconpope
You forgot to include the best ads. Are they on a different post?
nknorka
From the standpoint of the person paying for an ad, the important criteria is did the viewer connect to my product. Often I will  hear people talk about how much they liked (were entertained by) an ad, but when I ask them what product was being advertised they don't know.  

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