Dream On: Kia's Steven Tyler Super Bowl Ad Is a Bizarre Bummer
While the staff at The Truth About Cars doesn’t decide a vehicle’s worth based on the advertising it’s associated with, we sometimes critique the choices automakers make within the marketing spectrum. Whether it’s Volkswagen’s subtle attempt to convince prospective shoppers to procreate or Aston Martin’s decision to use Tom Brady as its spokesmodel, we’ve got something to say.
Kia recently finished a TV ad, intended to debut during Super Bowl LII, where Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler hops into Stinger GT and literally turns back time. The spot begins with Tyler donning a racing suit in a trailer that includes a photo of himself (for some reason) before walking out to an abandoned oval track. Waiting for him is aged Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi and two Kia Stinger GTs.
While the inclusion of Fittipaldi is a fun treat, it’s also a strange one. As recognizable as Tyler is, even as a leathery old man with beautiful hair, only serious motorsport fans would be able to identify a racing driver whose heyday was in the 1970s.
Unfortunately, this is where Fittipaldi exits. The ad makes it appear as if the two men are going to do battle on the oval, but Tyler ultimately climbs into the driver’s seat to throw the car in reverse. We then follow him as he screams around the track backward at impossible speeds while the clock in the trailer spins in reverse. Suddenly, he stops and steps out to a horde of screaming fans dressed in vintage clothing.
In actuality, Tyler doesn’t step out of the Kia. What we see is a computer-generated version of the rocker looking several decades younger. While not quite so abominable as Star Wars’ CGI versions of Peter Cushing or Carrie Fisher, the computerized rockstar still holds a place in the uncanny valley — albeit on the more tolerable slope.
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