By on February 4, 2015

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TTAC reader David Obelcz is back with his rundown of the latest crop of Super Bowl ads.

For some watchers of the Super Bowl the game being played is meaningless. For them the sport is not on the field and the debate is not that the Patriots are one of the most dominate teams in football history and Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to play the game why Pete Carroll didn’t give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in a 2 and goal on the 1 yard line. It isn’t meaningless to them because their team didn’t make the big game either. For some, the Super Bowl is all about the advertisements that run.

For the 2015 Super Bowl there were fewer car advertisements than previous years and from a marketing stand point, mostly duds. Thirty-eight national ad campaigns debuted that were required to turn 60 minutes of sport into four hours of television, 7 from auto makers. In addition, General Motors, Ford and Mini showed previously released advertisement in the 30 minutes prior to kickoff.

Some of the Best and Brightest of this hallowed site have suggested that Detroit sells on emotion, and emotion doesn’t sell product. If that’s true than a lot of ad agencies got it wrong this year because not just auto makers, but most advertisers played on emotion. For some including Nissan, Nationwide, and Dove, there was more emotion than the look on Richard Sherman’s face when Malcom Butler picked off Russell Wilson.

On to the ads.

The Fiat Blue Pill – Fiat 500X Crossover

Sex sells so they say. Of course when the sex is between a married couple pushing 60, well, maybe not so much. The premise is that the little blue pill, required for, “amore,” falls into the gas tank of a Fiat 500, and makes it, “bigger, more powerful, and ready for action.”

In advertising 101 they teach you there are sexual subliminal, and sexual blatant ads – any questions on what type this one is? Who is our target demographic? Well look at our 500X Crossover owner in the advertisement. He is young, handsome, single, and a Millennial. Buy a Fiat 500X Crossover and you’re going to get more action than our esteemed former EIC on a week-long guitar and vodka trip you could ever want. Of course I don’t know if the average millennial wants attention from 50 year old women sweeping the streets with a broom.

Fiat does get some things right. The camera angles they use put the Fiat 500X in a favorable light. When the crossover is first introduced the camera is low, and the lighting creates an illusion of ruggedness and SUV grade ground clearance.

GRADE: C-

Mercedes-Benz Fable – The Tortoise and the Hare

Ahh the story of the tortoise and the hare. Our hare in this blended animation spectacle has Richard Sherman flashing two-four over-confidence while our tortoise decides that some performance enhancement via four liters of hand built biturbo V8 engine is the way to go. The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S, because if you can drop 10 large times 4 for your family to see the Super Bowl in Arizona, you got the cheddar to put this in your garage.

This is an aspiration piece, because the average American with the average income is never going to be able to buy a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S. But Mercedes is hoping that they can draw buyers into their showroom to drool over on the AMG GT S in the showroom, and drive out in a $369 lease deal in a new GLA. However, this is where the ad falls flat. Animated forest critters that are Disneyesque in nature aren’t going to appeal to the AMG GT S buyer because there is nowhere to put the rug rats, and the average owner isn’t going to let the kids inside so they can spill their non-GMO, sugar and gluten free, organic, Concord grape juice in that special interior. This car is a weekend toy and future garage queen. There is nothing wrong with that, but woodland critters are not the best option for an aspiration piece on a luxury coupe with a hand built engine and racing heritage.

This ad comes across not really connecting with its target market at any level. It also has bad timing in its theme, telling how slow and steady does not wins the race, but deflating footballs cheating does.

GRADE: D

Toyota Camry – My Bold Dad

If emotion isn’t the path to selling vehicles, Toyota sure didn’t get that memo. “Being a dad is more than being a father. It’s a choice to get hurt rather than to hurt.”

That’s heavy, and the one thing this ad doesn’t do is say much about the Toyota Camry. On the other hand most Americans know what a Toyota Camry is, a reasonable, boring in non SE trim, appliance on wheels that will go 250K miles and seat five. The other thing that is shocking in this ad is our target demographic. Our dad in this ad is gray, with a lined face, a receding hairline, and when we get to the climax of the ad, an empty nest. So is Toyota really saying that the Camry demographic is over 50, has an empty nest, and is pining for their kids? Yikes!

This is really more a brand building ad. A piece to tug at the buying demographic heartstrings. In that respect it’s effective, but not the winner in the emotional arms race Madison Avenue ran this year. Additionally, whenever I see an advertisement that doesn’t touch on a single feature or benefit of the product, it screams to me, “we got nothing!”

GRADE: C-

Jeep Renegade – Beautiful Lands

FCA has been running epic, emotional advertisements in the Super Bowl since 2011 when Eminem declared Chrysler was back and imported from Detroit means something. In 2012 Clint Eastwood told us we were in half-time, but it was OK, because Detroit knows what it means to be coming out of hard times. In 2013 God Made a Farmer, guts, glory, Ram, for the farmer inside of you. 2014 had Bob Dylan asking us if there was anything more American than America. Never mind that the Autobahn was built before the Eisenhower Highway System. FCA continues this tradition for the fifth year with Beautiful Lands.

Woodie Guthrie is probably spinning in his grave over his iconic This Land Is Your Land being used in an auto advertisement for a Jeep built in Italy and Brazil. Middle America is definitely spinning that the American open space anthem was globalized. The backlash on Twitter was swift and FCA should have foreseen the coming ire. Last year’s America the Beautiful ad from Coca-Cola took a pounding for its multi-cultural positioning around an American anthem.

There is something almost depressing in the artist’s rendition of the song, and the visuals focus more on, well, being eye candy than on actual product. So the world is a gift America, play responsibly! Although beautiful imagery, I don’t feel the message and the music is going to compel people to buy a Jeep and tear up the forest.

I think I need to go buy a Nissan Leaf.

GRADE: D+

Kia Sorrento – The Perfect Getaway

The changed perception of Hyundai and Kia in just a decade has been remarkable. The 2012 Kia Optima Super Bowl ad was declared strange at best, Brett Michael, race tracks, hot women, speed, and – well – a Kia Optima.

Kia uses comedy and aspiration to sell you the Sorrento. Hey, we have Pierce Brosnan, James Bond himself! Oh, and here is our friend the sexual subliminal, because there is going to be fireworks! Are you noticing a theme developing in these ads? Once again, we have an older male, one that many would aspire to be. So why go after this demographic? Because this demographic is buying new cars (as has been debated to death)

Kia shows more product, including their chunky logo, and implies strongly in the ad that the new 2016 Sorrento is luxurious. The elements of telling the story connect back to the product (where the Fiat 500X ad focuses a lot more on the story). We’re also told through the story that the Sorrento is safe, rugged, and powerful. Oh, and if you buy a 2016 Kia Sorrento, you’re going to have more sex than Jack – fine – it probably wasn’t that funny the first time.

GRADE: B-

Nissan Maxima – With Dad

This ad was already highlighted on TTAC almost immediately after the Super Bowl. Where FCA dropped the ball on the emotional epic ad, Nissan spikes this on in the end zone harder than Gronkowski. If Nissan waited for more than two decades to return to the Super Bowl ad game with this, it was worth the wait.

This advertisement only shows two seconds of the new Nissan Maxima. But where our other emotional ads don’t quite catch the viewer’s heart, this one nails it like a Tom Brady bullet to the numbers. If you didn’t have a tear in your eye at the end of this ad you’re not human, or you have serious daddy issues. Nissan wanted you to share that tear in your eye, with a clever connection to social media and the #withdad hashtag. When you compare the emotional dad theme between Toyota and Nissan, these ads aren’t even close. They attempt the exact same thing, but the end result is Toyota is Andrew Luck and Nissan is Tom Brady.

The story arc shows us the racing heritage of Nissan, and conveys in a way that most American parents can understand, the sacrifices made when raising children. Once again our buyer demographic in the ad is pushing 50. Dads in America are apparently older, in great shape, with graying hair and blue eyes. Ah America! The added element of tinnitus during the racing accident and imagery leaves you in doubt on whether this ad is going to go to a dark place – it pulls you in during the story telling connecting both the child and the parents to the viewer. What we get in the end is redemption and understanding from a maturing son, and a peek at the new Nissan Maxima. Oh, and if you watch the ad, Panther platform cameos!

GRADE: A+

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66 Comments on “Super Bowl Auto Maker Ads – Not Quite As Bad As Pass Play on 2 and Goal on the 1, but Close...”


  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Too young, maybe, to have seen Johnny Unitas? No comparison, I don’t think. There were others too.

  • avatar
    mcs

    You missed the absolute worst of the ads – one that actually may have made a lot of viewers start hating the company. This is GM’s “Butler Interception” moment:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/everyones-freaking-out-about-chevys-super-bowl-fake-out#.bd4xMn0K3g

    • 0 avatar
      Silent Ricochet

      Worst? Oh my God if it was made by FoMoCo it’d be the best ad ever, right?

      I thought it was clever. It didn’t fool me really, then again, I was only half paying attention at the time this commercial aired. But it fooled a lot of the people at the party I was at and Facebook buzzed with chatter about how people really thought their cable went out.

      It grabbed people’s attention and then trolled the viewers. I laughed, as I’m sure others did. But that’s the point. It got your attention and did something memorable.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> Worst? Oh my God if it was made by FoMoCo it’d be the best ad ever, right?

        Where do get that idea? Are you that sensitive? Making people think their TV just died in the middle of a snowstorm pisses them off. I have no allegiance to any particular manufacturer. I’ll criticize any one of them and if any of their little fan boys get pissed off – then too bad.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Hatred of GM is like hatred of the Patriots.

      Rational or irrational people that hate GM hate GM. For a group of people it wouldn’t matter if GM came up with the cure for cancer, solved world hunger, wrote a $100 billion check to the US government and said, “we’re sorry, we should have gone out of business so we’re shutting down in five years,” and came up with an emission system that repaired the ozone hole that they gave to everyone for free – they would declare, “ya, well they didn’t address Muslim extremism, so tell me when they got covered – stupid GM, clearly pro-ISIL”

      This ad didn’t add anymore hate to the company.

      I am going to do a piece on the ads that ran in the pre-game show, there was one new, and three repeats. I find it comical that the better ads (sans Nissan and Kia) for the Super Bowl ran before the show.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        The Dodge ad ran during the 3rd quarter. Maybe you were making another sandwich and missed it.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          The venue I was at was in Seattle and was set up for Patriots fans (in part because the usual Boston sports bar was expecting to be packed and there were safety concerns).

          The owner of the venue left out the fact that although they have Century Link “cable” there was no cable TV. So the game had to be watched streaming, on a DSL connection, on a projector in below 720P resolution. The organizer wasn’t pleased but we made the best of it.

          By the second half most of the people were heads down looking at their cell phones either watching stats (my choice) or coughing up $5 to watching it streaming. The DSL connection was so bad that at one point the broadcast was a full two minutes behind. Additionally the streaming version did not show most of the Super Bowl ads because they were sold as additional slots. Mercedes-Benz bought a ton of online advertising time, I saw the Fable ad about 30 times.

          So given I was in a room of 205 screaming Patriots fans with a crap TV connection, I went to one of the media sites that usually lists all the ads, their list, commentary, and links didn’t cover all of them.

          Lesson learned – trust but verify – even when looking at what historically has been a trusted source.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I agree I thought it was pretty clever and memorable, if not exactly the best way to get people to buy your product!

      It reminded me of the “Don’t Stop–” end of the Sopranos.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Fiat 500X Crossover ad works if your intention is to steal sales from the Buick Encore. The Encore is being bought by a bunch of blue hairs.

    OR the ad works on another level if you are a Gen Xer who wants the big swinging pharmaceutically enhanced rooster of the small crossover roost.

    I actually liked the Kia Sorento ad just because I imagine many pitch meetings go that way.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      I think the FIAT 500X ad conveyed the brand idea behind FIAT, a fun, quirky, slightly risque Italian car. In that respect it worked beautifully, because the ad was fun, quirky and slightly risque.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I love Super Bowl Sundays! While my neighbors are crowded around silly televisions watching grown idiots bash each other’s brains out I get to detail my 1972 Toronado, walk my Shepherd/Collie dog and watch the new caterpillars sustain themselves on newly-blooming milkweed plants. The town is quiet for a few hours and you can hear the 455 growl much better…100 million viewers for football means 210 million did not watch.
    And I would never buy a Nissan/Fiat/Kia anyway…only GM vehicles are allowed in my driveway.

  • avatar

    I was most disgusted by the Toyota Camry AD with the father dropping his daughter off to war.

    I would have complained but I died!!!

    -Allstate

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      When I saw that, my first thought was, “Oh, she’s gonna get raped. Good job, Dad.”

      • 0 avatar

        TMA1

        Either:

        #1 by her squadmates
        #2 by the Taliban/ISIS

        or
        #3 asphyxiated by the F22.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          #1, most likely. I saw it happen too often. If my daughter told me she was going to join the military, I’d shoot her in the foot. They won’t take her then.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Wow…I must be an anomoly. 20 plus years and never raped any of my squadmates or anyone else for that matter. But yes, skip the military and send your daughters to America’s college campuses where they will be safe. Oh wait.

          I’m not saying it never happens, but I know of 2 guys that were connected to sexual assaults. One did time at Leavenworth on his way out and the other is still there. We have room to improve to be sure but I’d be willing to bet that a barracks rapist has a better shot at prison than a dorm rapist. Society as a whole can do better on this front.

          As to the F22, well it looked like she was going to combat, something the F22 knows nothing about.

          But yes, I will give you that were she to be captured by ISIS she would likely be raped prior to some sort of brutal death. Thank goodness the Wars are all over.

          Incidentally I would steer my kids clear of the military as well but not for those reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I would love to know the “behind the scenes” in the ad.

      While she greeted two soldiers in the ad that we can assume are from her same unit, she is not in uniform and the pack was stripped of anything that would identify it as being US military issue equipment.

      I would love to know if they shot the ad with her in uniform, and then had a change of heart, or were told by LCA, “you can’t do that,” and did a reshoot. Or did they shoot it both ways and did an “alternate ending” and picked this one as the ad of choice.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        I took it as he was dropping her off for Basic Training. An alternative to the cliche dropping daddy’s little girl off at college.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I think it was apparent, based on all the men in uniform entering the airport, that they were part of a unit being deployed. And she wouldn’t have had any gear issued (like the backpack) had she not been through basic yet.

  • avatar
    mjz

    What happened to the best auto ad that was on that night? The Dodge ad featuring the centenarians spouting wisdoms of life. Tied in beautifully with Dodge’s 100 year anniversary celebration. “You learn a lot in 100 years. Here’s to the next 100”. End shot of grandpa burning rubber in a Hellcat Challenger. Absolutely brilliant!

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yes – that was the only car ad I liked; it was pretty clever.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Well crap in a hat – you win the internet. I saw your reply, did a search, and found this ad. Went back to my source for “all the ads played in the 2015 Super Bowl” and didn’t see it – or the BMW ad, ro the Snickers ad…

      Trust but verify, trust but verify.

      I am working on a part two. In the end this probably works out better – had I done all of them this would have pushed past a 2K word piece.

      There are three to review in addition to the 3 pre-show ads that ran, one more from Toyota, a BMW i3 ad, and this Dodge ad.

      Thanks for the heads up and apologies.

      Oh — it’s a good ad in the year of the dad.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I liked that ad too. I like old people, and smokey burnouts. Elsewhere, I read criticism from people saying you shouldn’t have centenarians on TV in HD. Because of wrinkles, etc. It’s a shame how people disrespect the elderly.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        Unfortunately, our society only values vapid, shallow young people. In the past, old people were respected. The wrinkles show they’ve lived their lives and know the true lessons of life. That’s why the Dodge spot was so refreshing.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      That was a good one. I missed the first half of it though!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Renegade ad was strange.

    While an “all-American” song played in the background, they showed scenes the Renegade could visit, from all around the world. They didn’t mention that it’s built in Italy – ironic if you know what Jeeps were doing in Italy in 1943.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      The ad was beautifully shot, and showed the global aspirations of Jeep with the new Renegade. Plus with what that must have cost to film, they can use the commercial globally, however, I agree with you that “This Land Is Your Land” was not a good song choice at all, and had a different song been used, it might have made all the difference in the world, no pun intended.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The cost isn’t as high as you think, most of those shots were likely stock photography

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          No, I used to work for an ad agency and read Adweek, that was all new photography shot on location in many, many exotic countries. Big bucks ad. A typical boondoggle for the creatives to get to travel extensively while the client foots the bill.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I’m kind of…flabbergasted. The kind of stuff I hate when agencies pitch creative concepts to me.

            So we send this film crew all around the world for six months, until they get the perfect shots, and you of course pay for it all, and then…

            Wait, wait, wait.

            Why can’t we license stock photography?

            Well we need to be unique!

            How are you unique on a pan out shot of redwood trees in the mist. It’s been done 100 times, look, I’ve already pulled up 20 1080P videos that we can license on this.

            *sad look on face when they realize pitch is going down in flames*

            Well we can discuss the options on this, but we think this will produce a better….

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Lol, if you know anything about Woody Guthrie and “This Land Is Your Land” you probably wouldn’t say that. Woody was a communist and didn’t believe in private property.

      This verse:

      “Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
      A sign was painted said: Private Property,
      But on the back side it didn’t say nothing —
      This land was made for you and me.”

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        I think Americans think of “This Land Is Your Land” as an American folksong. Throwing international locations in was a bit off putting. They should have used a different song, or edited the ad to only contain shots of America. Either would have worked better IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          philadlj

          I thought the point of the ad was that the song wasn’t merely referring to America, but to the entire world, all of which was “made for you and me.” That beauty and majesty of the world spans beyond political borders, and you can explore it all in your tiny Jeep!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I get that and know of Woodies very left views of the world – I can’t see Woodie condoning his song being used to sold products from a major corporation squeezing unions, previously owned by deep pocketed private equity firms, bailed out by the tax paying citizens and handed to the Italians. Woodie was very pro-worker and very pro-union and there is nothing but anti-UAW all around.

        The concept of the ad he would love, even beyond the view of how he wrote the song. If Woodie just saw the ad devoid of the product messaging, I think it would bring a tear to his eye. The fact that it was being used by FCA to sell Jeeps – brain would melt – and not in a good way.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The Budweiser ‘Lost Dog’ ad was by far the best commercial. I don’t care if it wasn’t a car ad, there were cars in it.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/02/01/usa-today-ad-meter-2015-super-bowl-money/22378605/

  • avatar
    John R

    I guess it was worth the destruction of two GT-Rs.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I have to disagree with that Nissan ad getting an A+. I thought the storyline was really sappy. The use of Jim Croce’s “Cats In The Cradle” just didn’t work. The song is about a dad bitter that his son no longer has time for him, just as he had no time for his son. The Nissan ad shows the ad from the perspective of the son being the bitter one. Dad drives up in that hideous new Maxima and thinks: “Hey kid, so what if I wasn’t around for you, it was all worth it for this ugly new car that you will get to drive when you get your license, you ungrateful little twerp”. I give THAT ad a D+

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      My exact reaction as well. The ad had me shaking my head in confusion of the message. What is Nissan saying — that being a racing driver and being away from the family all those years is worth it? That Nissan is the cause of the boy not seeing his father while growing up? That all is forgiven because the kid will get a car on his 16th birthday?

      I still don’t get it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        No, you missed the whole point of the ad. What’s the next verse of the song that’s not played in the commercial?

        “Well, he came from college just the other day
        So much like a man I just had to say
        “Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
        He shook his head and he said with a smile

        “What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
        See you later
        Can I have them please?”

        He averted that ending, this father rides off with his his son instead of giving him the keys and standing by as his son drives out of his life forevermore.
        He has found a rough balance between his career and being a good dad and quite frankly that’s better than a lot of parents.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Another point missed. There was indirect messaging here.

          Nissans are reliable, fast, and SAFE, the same cars you can buy are put on the race track (wink wink). You can get t-boned at race speed and walk away in a Nissan, you protect the ones you love when you drive a Nissan – even when things happen outside of your control, like getting bumped on a rainy race track.

          The people in TTAC understand what goes into race prepping a GT-R, the 98% of America watching that ad have no clue – what they see is several cars that look mostly like Nissans they can go to their showroom and buy.

          It’s not a direct message, it’s indirect, but it is powerful.

          If the idea that showing cars racing as part of automotive advertising strategy didn’t work, the automakers would spend billions combined globally on various racing venues to wrap spec racers in their branded skins. There would be zero point in the exercise beyond meeting homologation rules.

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          That’s EXACTLY my point and why THAT song didn’t work for me because the song and the storyline of the ad don’t work together. The ad has a “happy” ending. The song didn’t, so it didn’t make sense. Just like Jeep using “This Land Is Your Land” and then showing visuals of Nepal or Guam, or wherever the hell they were.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I’ve seen a number of ads where a song is used that in its entirety does not work, but as edited it does.

            How many viewers are going to know who Harry Chapin is let alone a 1974 folk song.

            I get your point, and I would have to go back and listen to the words as used in the song – I know that they don’t use the whole song – as the ad is only 90 seconds.

            A regional ad around here for Car Toys used My Own Worst Enemy as their song in their ads.

            Given the horrible job they did on my MS-8 programming – I think the song was an appropriate choice…. ;-)

            One other point for many of the Super Bowl ads this year, they were somber, some were outright dark, and “dad” was a huge theme. Within that category, this ad is a home run.

            The cool thing about ads, they’ll never appeal to everyone.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            There is nothing “cool” about ads. They are designed to manipulate you at your expense. **** advertising!

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Look, man.

            We live in a world where cruise ads use “Lust for Life” to sell cruises to old people.

            We just have to accept that the only “meaning” of a song in an ad is either the words in the snippet, or the vague mood affiliation of the song.

            Going any deeper misses the point (as interesting as Lie2Me’s analysis is, I think it’s stretching), and has little to do with the effect on The Average Viewer.

            And it’s The Average Viewer that matters.

        • 0 avatar
          Domestic Hearse

          Still not buying it. For those of us old enough to remember when this song was actually played on the radio, attempting to twist the meaning, or slap a happy ending on the end, doesn’t work.

          The song means what it means. From the opening chord to the end. Trying to manipulate it into something else is a cynical misuse of the music. To wit: Jeep’s use of This Land.

          I get the “point” they (and you) attempt to make, but a visual rewriting of Chapin’s meaning in the last three seconds of the spot doesn’t work for me nor does it for my contemporaries. In other words, the slightly graying dads depicted in all these car commercials.

          Now kindly get off my lawn and take that lumpy sedan with you.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Remembering the cause of Mr. Chapin’s untimely demise bumps it down to a D- for me.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        An untimely death at 30 for sure. Never fly in one of those little puddle jumper planes. He was certainly a talented man that could weave a poignant tale together with a catchy melody. A shame.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Are we talking about the same Harry Chapin? The one who died at 38 when his Rabbit got rear-ended by a semi?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You’re right…

            “On Thursday, July 16, 1981, just after noon, Chapin was driving in the left lane on the Long Island Expressway at about 65 mph on the way to perform at a free concert scheduled for later that evening at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York. Near exit 40 in Jericho he put on his emergency flashers, presumably because of either a mechanical or medical problem (possibly a heart attack). He then slowed to about 15 miles (24 km) per hour and veered into the center lane, nearly colliding with another car. He swerved left, then to the right again, ending up directly in the path of a tractor-trailer truck. The truck could not brake in time and rammed the rear of Chapin’s blue 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit, rupturing the fuel tank as it climbed up and over the back of the car, causing it to burst into flames.”

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          He was 39 and had a head on collision with a semi on the Long Island Expressway

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          I think you’re mixing up Jim Croce. It is one of my earliest memories when the news story played that he died and I remember crying. I was, and remain a huge fan.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It was the mustache. It was too good for this sinful world.

          • 0 avatar
            mjz

            You are all absolutely correct. Thanks for pointing that out. I did mix up the two. Both died untimely deaths. Chapin was in a Volkswagen and apparently experiencing some sort of catastrophic problem that caused him to have to slow down suddenly and had him driving with the flashers on. Hmmmm, now about those Volkswagen reliabilty issues…

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          mjz, you’re describing Jim Croce’s death.

          The song was performed by Harry Chapin, and I believe it came out after Jim Croce was already dead.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I think he would have been pleased that someone got his message and used it to show how a potentially unhappy ending can be turned around, he was a nice guy

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Agreed, and I would argue that if lots of people “miss the point” of the ad, it can’t very well deserve an A+, now can it?

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      Nissan’s ad deserves a D. The new Maxima should get an F.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      Harry Chapin, methinks. I kind of think Jim Croce was already dead.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I don’t think the Jeep piece merits a D+. Everyone was revolted by it, no matter what they drive or who they vote for.

  • avatar

    Note: Sorrento, Italy does indeed have two Rs, but the Kia Sorento has just one in its name.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It seems like Super Bowl commercials get worse every year, and this year was no exception. The only two that were marginally interesting were the TurboTax commercial with a clever take on the American Revolution and Breaking Bad’s Walter White (Brian Cranston) return as a drugstore pharmacist.

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