By on February 6, 2012

So what was the best Super Bowl ad yesterday? Edmunds has the answer: It’s the commercial for the Fiat 500.

The alluring advert must have touched the inner submissive in America’s men. They are shown an ad where a dork is slapped around by an (allegedly) Italian beauty with an Abarth tattoo (on her neck,) and they obligingly click it to the top of the charts, without even thinking of hissing: “On your knees, Ffffffffiat.”


Of course, it could also have been American females who had their inner dominatrix tickled. Thankfully, we won’t know. Edmunds measured the effectiveness of Super Bowl car ads by monitoring the traffic on the respective pages on, before, during, and after the ads ran, and clicks are gender neutral.

Edmunds measured whether these ads actually aroused something more than prurient interest – do people want to know more about the car? From a pile of data emailed by Edmunds, we give you the overall cumulative results.

That old Fiat ad that had been around since November last year, but hey, sex never gets old, only we do. The Fiat 500 ad made the top spot by increasing traffic at Edmunds by 138 percent.

Next in line is a more or less unsexy ad (unless you are into suppressed zoophilia): The Lexus ad for the GS 350, titled “The Beast” racked up an impressive 102 percent increase. Apparently, a Lexus busting a box talks to people.

Definitely more production value has the number 3 on the list, the ad for the Chevy Sonic, where perfectly good cars are thrown out of a perfectly good Hercules. That drove up Edmunds traffic by 95 percent. But wait, didn’t “don’ call it Chevy” Ewanick want to kill“Chevy runs deep?” Maybe nobody found a better one, happens.

PETA should approve of this Hyundai ad that garnered an increase of 81 percent traffic for the Hyundai Veloster, landing the ad in slot number four. PETA loves people that get eaten by animals. The other way ’round, not so much.

In the fifth spot: Volkswagen’s Beetle ad, here shown in the director’s cut versions. Up 67 percent, but what will PETA say about the shameless exploitation of plus-sized dogs for marketing purposes?

Finally, coming in as number six, the Hyundai Genesis ad. (Here depicted with the proper Hyundai badge.) It leveraged boredom into a 63 percent increase.

Speaking of dogs, we asked Edmunds to disclose the worst of the Super Bowl Roman numeral XLVI. If we get this info, you will get it.

Now what was your favorite ad?

PS: AutoTrader ran a similar study, and came to similar, but not totally identical conclusions:

“ shows that Hyundai performed highest overall based on its pregame sponsorship and the commercials aired for the Elantra, Genesis and the Veloster by the first quarter of the game – rather than getting one spike during the game, they had elevated activity across the length of the game on multiple car models.  At the peak of the game, the heaviest online traffic spikes came from shoppers that were looking at Chevy Sonic and Toyota Camry.  The most unexpected result came from Fiat 500.  On Sunday, over 65 percent of Fiat 500 searches occurred after the big game ad aired.”

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42 Comments on “Sex Sells: The Abso#$%ingly Best Car Ads Of The Super Bowl...”

  • avatar

    I liked the Chevy truck post-apocolyptic ad. I particularly like the music and the presence of an old chevy. The ford joke fell a little flat for me.

    Speaking of Ford, where were they? are they really selling so well they don’t need clever advertising?

    • 0 avatar

      The Chevy truck commercial was embarrassingly predictable. Every computer graphic possible was used. By the time we all found out that one of the guys didn’t make it because he drove a Ford, I pretty much expected him to say something similar.

      Amateur and boring.

      I heard Ford didn’t like it, but it was so lame I don’t know why they bothered complaining.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah yeah, everything has been done before.

        Pretty much all of the ads were predictable, but that does not keep them from being entertaining. I knew where the ad was going from teh beginning, but I could not help but smile (at least on the inside) the whole time.

        I barely even saw the Hyundai ads, art imitating life I suppose.

    • 0 avatar

      My wife isn’t a car person and just thought it was a commercial for twinkies.

  • avatar

    I’m really surprised the Fiat ad didn’t have subtitles. Granted, it got the point across… As soon as I saw the dorky guy, I knew which commercial it was. I’m glad they chose not to dub, re-shoot, or otherwise Americanize it though.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    The VW Darth Vader ad was the very best and very funniest of ALL the ads, hands down. What’s wrong with everybody?

    But as much as I would like to see GM destroyed by some apocalypse, I felt that their post-apocalyptic commercial was the runner-up. The punch line doubled me over.

  • avatar

    Lots of canine oriented ads. Here “We Go” was my favorite.

  • avatar

    My favorite was the Doritos commercial with the dog. Then again, my extreme hatred of cats may lend to personal bias.

    My fave car commercials were the VW dog, the Hyundai cheetah race, and the Ferris Bueller CR-V (not in any particular order).

    I enjoyed the “2012” Chevy commercial right up until “Where’s Dave?” I knew with ZERO doubt the next line would be “Dave bought a Ford.” That killed an otherwise entertaining ad. I did think the Twinkies were a nice touch too.

    The Acura ad was dumb… especially for a car 3 years away from even being sold.

  • avatar

    I admit I liked the Abarth add. For all the weak 500 ads we’ve been exposed to, that one should move the needle. The message is simple, its a car guys will be smitten with. The JLo ads make it seem a total chick car.

    I liked the Optima Dream add as well. The only thing I liked about the Chevy truck add was the Twinkies…that was a nice touch.

  • avatar

    I have to admit I like the Fiat Abarth commercial. The runner up was the Kia Optima/Motley Crue spot. The CR-V one was clever too.

  • avatar

    Off all the commercials, the one with Betty White for The Voice was the best. I don’t watch that show, but it was the best. Next was the brown M&M’s commercial. The car commercials were ok. I really didn’t like the Veloster cheetah one. The Veloster has been critized for being slow, and I took it like they didn’t want to run it against the cheetah, which can reach only about 70 mph.

    The Chevy truck one made me laugh. I didn’t think the Lexus was very interesting. The Sonic ones were ok. I liked the VW dog one, but not the new beetle. I missed some of the other commercials, feeding children dinner etc. But, I really thought that the other commercials were good too. And the grandma infant slingshot. Yep, that one was funny.

  • avatar

    What about the Audi ad for the LED headlights? That was pretty good.

  • avatar

    The Fiat ad was fun to watch until they showed the frumpy car. What a let down!

    • 0 avatar

      I think it was their way of saying, “If you have to buy this car, then we all know you’re not scoring a chick like that, so you might as well drive it right back to your crappy Ikea-filled, 1-Bdr walk-in and masturbate through the tears.”

  • avatar

    Taxact Pee in the Pool was my fav. Audi, Hyundai, and Lexus cool, Sonic stupid. Fiat proved the car is for sissies.

  • avatar

    I liked the Suzuki Kizashi ad with the sled dogs.

    Oddly, the car is spotless at the end, after a spirited drive through the snow.

    Most ads these days tend to denigrate or emasculate men. It’s become the norm for our culture – just look at ads for anything – cars, vacuum cleaners, food, money management – they all depict foolish men being ‘educated’ by smart/hot women. I blame the women’s liberation movement and the politically-correct response to it. The Suzuki ad bucked this trend.

    • 0 avatar

      . . .Seriously? Madison Avenue is still almost exclusively men. It’s painfully easy to prey upon men’s insecurity and that’s why they do it. It’s a win-win in that it makes some win go “yeah!” and men feel like they should by it if it’s done well. Otherwise it makes women come across as shrill harpies which is a major turn off to any normal woman.

      The VW ad worked well, the Chevy apocalypse ad just made me cringe because of the idiotic ford line.

  • avatar

    I was pretty surprised to see Clint Eastwood in a follow up Made in Detroit piece. I’m also surprised that it didn’t get any more traction than it did, either at Edmunds or here at TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      I think there’s a general sense of fatigue with Fiasler, at least regarding this marketing approach.

      Yeah, yeah, we get it. You’re the savior of Detroit and the American auto industry… even though you’re owned and operated by Italians, and selling a mix of rehashed domestic metal and rebadged Fiats. Enough already.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, but it’s Clint!

        Maybe it was the form of the ad. At first I thought that it might have been a political ad with a guy who just sounded like Eastwood.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        I do admit, it was great to see Eastwood again. I wasn’t sure who was speaking until the reveal near the end.

      • 0 avatar

        They should go all in and make a 440 Magnum Dirty Harry Special Edition. The nav system should synthesize Clint’s gravel voice. I thought it was a great commercial and would prove effective if the autoworkers in Detroit were the only ones who saw it – for the morale boost.

        As to greatest SB commercial of any type – still waiting for somebody to top the shown-only-once Apple 1984 commercial. Insanely great.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Here’s what I liked about the Eastwood commercial; Chrysler admits that things are different now. GM has tried to carry on since the bankruptcy like nothing has happened. Chrysler has confronted it head on. (Although the Chrysler commercial would have been more effective if Clint’s movie had been “Challenger RT” instead of Gran Torino.)

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, it’s half-time for Detroit. More like there’s ten-seconds on the clock, the score is 118-22, and the forward is drawing fouls to stave off the inevitable end (screaming “racism” is the only thing keeping the city out of receivership).

      Oh, yeah, and your team is suited up for a football game.

      Other than, yeah, the ad’s the utter soul of honesty.

  • avatar

    NSX – what??? no comments about Jerry Seinfeld and the new Acura NSX? Everyone one at my Super Bowl Party (sorry “big game party” in case the NFL tries to sue me) was drooling over that car. Granted its setting itself up to be the next Volt since we all know it will NEVER look that good in production trim. Really good spot with the Soup Nazi and Leno stealing the keys in the end.

    Fiat – keep us interested throughout, it was sassy, very sexy and fun. Even the women in our group liked it. I thought it was commercial for McDonalds new McCafe coffee up until the very end.

    Sonic – seemed like a Jack-Ass / Mythbusters episode, people doing things in a car you can’t do… what’s the point?

    Chevy Trucks – predictable, even the Ford dig at the end.

    Audi – funny playing on the whole vampire popularity thing, but really the biggest selling point of you car is the headlights? WOW Audi is really in love with those LEDs. In the end it was lame.

    Veloster Turbo – short and to the point, I approved.

    CR-V – great spot, but the idea of a CR-V being Ferris choice for his day off is a joke. Chevy should have given him a ‘Vette and shown a broken down Ferrari on the side of the road.

    Detroit – well done, I liked the Eminem one last year better because its a bit hard to relate to a Clint as spokesman since he is pushing 80 years old now.

    VW – almost everyone missed the connection. I had to rewind this ad and explain it was another Dark Vader VeeDub tie in. Compared to last years ad this was a complete dud.

    Go Daddy – How much do they pay Danica for these spots? Even the women at my party were disappointed, especially after seeing the “unrated” web-only version! I’ve seen more skin on the beach. Disappointing, if you considered that commercial “racy” then ankles on a nun must cause your knees to buckle.

    Over all pretty weak selection this year with only the Tax ad kid peeing in the pool causing a LOL moment from the gang at my place. No Bud horses? Just that ugly dog grabbing some brews? Funny but they could have done better I think. When all else fails use a dog, because everyone love dogs right?

  • avatar

    The Fiat Abarth was my favorite by a country mile. It said to me, “You will Love/Lust after this car and it will NEVER be boring!

    Second, Dorito Cat ad

    Third would have been the Ferris Bueller ad but once you’ve seen the extended ad online, the one on the Superbowl was a dud.

    Cheer and as always, YMMV

  • avatar

    Best was the kia dreamland one. I guess for the optima. Granted the car really wasn’t that cool but the commercial was funny.

  • avatar

    Wow, that FIAT ad is old. So they decided to recycle it huh?
    Seen the Chrysler ad with Clint?
    The Toyota Camry Reinvented one was good too. Love to have a blender blasting out Lionel’s “All night long”, all night.

  • avatar

    Nobody talks about the car performance, that what i want to see in the ad.

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