The day is upon us. Madison Avenue rejoices.
Super Bowl LVI airs tonight, and with it comes the commercials. And, probably, heartburn – though I suppose that depends on what you’re eating.
I’ll be posting YouTube links of every automotive (and auto-adjacent) commercial pretty much as they air. Come join the conversation in the comments.
Regarding the game, I have no real dog in the fight (I’m a Packers fan) but as a lifelong Ohioan my heart leans toward the Bengals.
What’s more American than football? Marketing, gluttony, and consumerism have to rank quite highly, I’d imagine. Thankfully, we have a bacchanalia this upcoming weekend that celebrates all four and then some.
That’s right, for those outside the big cities of Los Angeles and, um, Cincinnati who have been caught unaware, the LVI-th edition of the Super Bowl will be played this Sunday, February 13th. As always, marketers will pay for access to those millions of eyeballs, thus the Super Bowl Commercial as its own genre of big-budget short film.
As in years past, this will be a two-part series for TTAC. Today, I’ll post the automotive and automotive-adjacent commercials that have been shared to YouTube. Some of these are the full commercials, while some are teasers. On Sunday evening, come back here for a live-ish blog where I post every automotive and automotive-adjacent commercial as it airs. Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting from a recliner very near to my fridge and liquor cabinet. Once we get into the third quarter there’s a decent chance I’ll make a few humorous typos.
Last night’s Super Bowl got out of hand about as quickly as the newsman fight in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
This meant that I, watching the game home alone since Super Bowl parties aren’t safe these days, turned to the ads to keep myself entertained. Sadly, with a few exceptions, most were as stinky as the game itself.
The ones that were supposed to be funny mostly weren’t, the emotional/inspirational ones were mostly fine but unmemorable, and the one that was so bad that I think it was intentionally terrible for the sake of virality was just annoying.
While General Motors still plans on debuting its all-electric Hummer on October 20th in a live-stream event catering to industry watchers and EV super fans, it will also be dipping into its marketing budget to give those watching the first game of Major League Baseball’s World Series a glimpse of the beast.
Two weeks from now, the automaker will pull the trigger on a synchronous media extravaganza guaranteed to place the electric behemoth in front of as many eyes as possible. In addition to the official debut and Fox’ baseball slot, GM has also purchased time during NBC’s The Voice — which is estimated to draw in around 9 million viewers when it returns for its 19th season.
With no reason to risk going outside and industrial news at an all-time low, I’ve retreated into curiously dry hobbies as a way to maintain my sanity.
A substantial portion of my time has been devoted to parsing through old automotive catalogs and marketing materials. As someone who is notoriously difficult to shop for, dusty paperbacks that can easily be found for a nickel at any estate sale turned out to be ideal gifts… and I amassed a sizable collection. Over the weekend, I found myself going through vintage television spots — noticing they’re quite a bit different from the ads we encounter today.
While automotive marketing has evolved through the ages, there was a long stretch of time where companies basically just filmed a car driving around as a disembodied voice explained its strengths. This was back when advertisements featured voice-overs telling you that “ Quality is Job 1” at Ford, or a choir of voices joyfully acknowledging that they absolutely loved what Toyota was doing for them.
Today, I’m celebrating the 30th anniversary of a totally mundane promotion from 1990 called “National Cadillac Week.” While the free AVIS rental and cash back on your purchase weren’t unusual (then or now), I happened to encounter it exactly three decades after it originally aired — as if destined by fate. It was a glaring reminder of how much car ads have changed in that time period.
Encore, not Regal. Regal TourX if you please, not the Cascada. No to the LaCrosse, yes to the Enclave. Regal Sportback shunned, Envision approved.
This isn’t an elementary analysis of the pro-crossover/anti-car trends of the marketplace or GM’s China-centric Buick brand. Rather, it’s the message Buick seems to be sending in its own advertising.
Of course, that’s not the official line from Buick PR. But the more you watch the six-month-old “Mistaken Identity” commercial, the more you wonder what Buick must think of its own cars.
We know, we know — you’re torn on the answer to this age-old question. Well, Toyota thinks its 2020 Corolla sedan, which adopts the platform and powertrain changes seen on the 2019 hatch, is hot, sizzling stuff. And you will, too, it seems.
So much so, you’re liable to engage in a lewd public act, possibly encouraging a visit from the cops.
In a rare victory for television, General Motors was forced to pull one of its obnoxious “Real People” ads earlier this week after Ford, Toyota, and Honda cried foul over its claims. If you missed our earlier coverage, the gist was that GM stated Chevrolet was the more dependable brand by surprising rival owners — who were definitely not paid actors — with totally reliable data…
One of the biggest problems with the spot was that the reliability-related praise heaped on Chevrolet’s vehicles was, in many cases, supported by data obtained from previous-generation vehicles. That gave the annoyed automakers solid footing to call the commercial misleading and deploy their lawyers. Earlier this month, GM’s legal team was sent a letter demanding the company stop making the reliability claims in its television campaign and was given until January 14th to respond to the demands.
General Motors ultimately responded by saying the ad had already stopped airing nationally and that it would be removed from local markets in the coming weeks. It noted that it stood by the claims. Then, earlier today, it also removed the commercial from the internet.
Maybe I’m getting old, because I think most popular culture is dreck, or maybe it really is at best pablum and at worse corrosive to the mind and soul. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want to be harangued politically by someone whose profession involves lying convincingly. Whatever the reason, I haven’t watched an award show like the Oscars or Grammys in decades. I wouldn’t have even known the Golden Globes award show was taking place Sunday night if NBC hadn’t been hyping the broadcast during the NFL playoff game I tuned into to get some idea of what people who don’t live in Detroit do on Sunday afternoons in January.
Though I knew about it, as you can guess, I hadn’t planned on watching the Golden Globes. I went out to hear some blues, but the award show was on a couple of the flat screens on the walls at the Blue Goose Inn. That’s how Walmart’s new commercial promoting its grocery pickup service came into my ken. You may ask yourself, why is Schreiber talking about grocery ads at a car site? The answer to that question is that Walmart contracted with a number of movie and television studios to be able to feature a dozen genuinely iconic movie and TV cars and trucks in the ad. Get it? Movie cars in an ad running during a movie award show?
Automakers are obsessed with promoting high-tech concepts in an effort to prove to investors and the general public that they aren’t falling behind the times. While artificial intelligence remains the gold standard, what constitutes A.I. can get a little foggy. However, in the present, the term can be used to describe any machine that effectively mimics cognitive behaviors, like the ability to learn or create.
Car manufacturers want to fine tune specific A.I. examples to be implemented in autonomous driving hardware and high-end, modern infotainment systems. For example Mercedes-Benz wants to use the technology to build a more serious relationship between drivers and its cars by allowing future vehicles to “learn” about the driver. Meanwhile, General Motors decided to branch out to see how such a system would handle marketing by linking up OnStar Go with IBM’s Watson, an A.I. which famously beat Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings.
Watson is now working with Lexus and taking things a step further. The automaker just released a new advertisement it claims was written by IBM’s machine and directed by Kevin Macdonald.
Dodge recently launched a 30-second commercial as part of Fiat Chrysler’s new “Big Finish” advertising campaign. While a competent bit of marketing, it falls into the trap of deploying holiday marketing immediately after Halloween.
On the surface, it has everything you’d want from a Christmas-themed car ad. Professional wrestler, former NFL player, and American icon Bill Goldberg makes an appearance as Santa while dwarves install a 6.2-liter Hemi into his sleigh. The Butt Rock comes on strong, accented by angle grinders and relentless engine revving until Santa’s new ride is completed. They even put antlers on the Hellcat logo. It’s stupid and awesome but also way too early for this.
We’re willing to forgive FCA. The automaker has been pretty good about not making commercials that make us strangle anyone of late. Frankly, that’s more than we can say about some of the other domestic nameplates.
Mazda’s new “Feel Alive” advertising campaign places consumers as its focal point as the company tries to market itself as an upscale and hip, enthusiast-oriented brand. On Monday, Mazda launched the first commercial — a borderline insulting collection of superficial phrases intended to get you excited about the brand’s new identity.
The spot itself is about as boilerplate new-millennium luxury car commercial as it gets. It opens with a series of attractive actors, all on the cusp of an important moment, as the narrator offers bizarrely simplistic lines of encouragement like “do that thing” and “take that step.” Granted, auto ads became far getting far less chatty about specs during the 1990s. But, over the last decade, too many car spots seem to be copying perfume ads — strange adventures in abstraction that say nothing about the product and cost a fortune to produce.
Cadillac is showing off the upcoming XT4 before its official debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show by tossing it into a handful of commercials scheduled during the 90th Academy Awards. While the television spots seem to be intended to whet appetites prior to the vehicle’s launch later this fall, it’s the best look we’ve had at the model to date. That said, careful lighting and smoke machines allowed the XT4 to show plenty of leg without unbuckling its belt and giving us a real show.
The overall design is on par with what we’ve come to expect from present-day Cadillac, with vertical headlights cutting deeply into the front fenders. However, it looks to be a more shapely SUV than everything else the brand currently offers. Styling was clearly a priority here, and every element that identifies a model as a Cadillac appears to have been exaggerated without going too far.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Zerofoo The UAW understands that this is their last stand. Their future consists of largely robot assembled EVs that contain far fewer parts. Factories moving to southern "right to work" states and factories moving to the southern-most state of Mexico.I don't think lights-out auto factories are on the horizon, but UAW demands might move those automated manufacturing process timelines up.McDonalds opened a fully automated restaurant in Texas in 2022 in response to a $15/hour minimum wage demand. I'm fairly certain that at $130/hr - fully robotic car factories start to make sense.
- Redapple2 Cherry 20 yr old Defenders are $100,000 +. Til now.
- Analoggrotto So UAW is singling out Ford, treating them slightly better in order to motivate the entire effort. Mildly Machiavellian but this will cost them dearly in the future. The type of ill will and betrayal the Detroit-3 must be feeling right now will be the utter demise of UAW. I just hope that this tribulation is not affecting Mary Barra's total hotness.
- Redapple2 I guessed they were ~$150,000. Maybe attainable.
- Redapple2 want one.