Gone in Thirty Seconds: Super Bowl LVIII Auto Commercial Pre-Game Roundup

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

Football and marketing - does it get any better? In this era of fragmented streaming services, there are precious few moments of what was once dubbed Must See Tee Vee where one be assured hundreds of million eyeballs will be glued to the same message simultaneously. We likely will never have another shared broadcast moment like the finale of M*A*S*H, so The Super Bowl is it.

It’s been reported that a thirty-second spot during The Big Game is now going for seven million dollars – insert GIF of Austin Powers sniffing his pinky here – so the roster of automakers ponying up for airtime is a bit thin. As always, I’ll be live-blogging during the game on Sunday night, sharing YouTube links of each individual spot roughly as it airs. It’s always possible someone will pop in a last-minute ad buy, too, but this morning let’s take a look at what the automakers have brought forth in the way of teasers and pre-released spots, in alphabetical order.


BMW has partnered with this year’s Super Bowl halftime performer, Usher, as well as acclaimed actor and unusual-voice-haver Christopher Walken for their spot surrounding their new i5 EV sedan. The teaser they put out a week ago is pretty good, too.


Ok, no, it’s not automotive, but it’s awful close. And while side-by-sides like the Kawasaki Ridge shown in this ad are technically not street legal, wander into any rural area and you’ll find locals running errands in these fun machines. Kawasaki leans into a hairstyle most associated with the Eighties.


Kia pulls at the heartstrings in their Perfect 10 spot, with a young kid landing what I think is a double Salchow first in an arena and next with lighting and music provided by the vehicle-to-load capability of the new EV9.


Subaru isn’t showing an ad on CBS this year, but they will have a Spanish-language spot on the Univision broadcast. I’ve linked both the Spanish language and slightly shorter English language videos - since Subaru’s dogs don’t speak Spanish, the sentiment translates seamlessly. But the adult dogs in the front row aren’t wearing seatbelts, so I don’t know whether that negates Subaru's usual safety messaging.


Toyota had originally announced that they were not planning on advertising during The Super Bowl, but when an opening in airtime became available, they jumped. Here, they pay homage with some strained minced oaths to the overlooked interior feature universally known as The Oh $#** Handle in their new Tacoma.


VW is celebrating their 75th year of sales in America this year, and has leaned on that heritage during their transition toward an electrified future. The classic car fanatic within me is overjoyed to see all of the shiny vintage metal, and while Neil Diamond isn’t my favorite artist of the Seventies or Eighties, “I Am…I Said” is a pretty damned good tune. There are some fun callbacks to other VW Super Bowl commercials, too. Take special note of the disclaimer across the bottom of the screen when the Mk.2 Golf is rallying through the dirt.

Well, that's all we have for this morning. Don't forget to tune your dial to WTTAC on Sunday evening.

[Images/Video provided by the manufacturers. Lead image: Volkswagen]

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Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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2 of 11 comments
  • Paul Pity. I think there's a market for these now that half ton pickups are so immense. A few more fumbles and GM could miss out.
  • Kcflyer So I get to continue to subsidize my neighbors new EV's. Bonus, I get to pay for they kids Gender Studies Diplomas.
  • Wolfwagen The Alpha Numeric model system used to be good and had some consistency either to the size of the vehicle or engine. Now its just gobbly gook that doesn't make any sense. Lincoln was the worst since all their vehicles looked the same and all started with MK.
  • Urlik GDI engines emit 5 to 10 times the particulate matter that PFI engines emit. The particles are not just carbon either.
  • Pgb65773699 I enjoyed it, it is what you expect , funny