Super Bowl Car Commercials Were Electrifying
If Super Bowl ads had Oscars, here are a few nominees…
The Super Bowl is the Oscars for the advertising industry, especially auto commercials. These guys spend big bucks, and at $7M for a 30-second spot, this is a no-holds-barred game. The competition between car brands is just as stiff on-screen as the competition on the scrimmage line between the Rams and the Bengals. This year the battle was nothing short of electrifying – literally and figuratively.
If the Super Bowl has taught us anything this year, EVs are in, and Crypto is EVERYWHERE.
With Super Bowl commercials budgets increasing exponentially, this year's entries into the canon of legendary car commercials were on-point, but the real story wasn't the amount of money the companies spent for a Soprano’s reunion or stars like Brie Larson, Nick Jonas, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (among too many more to mention); rather, the key takeaway from this battle-of-the-ad-wars game was how many car commercials featured all-electric vehicles.
By our count, of the 13 car commercials that aired during the game, 11 of those spots featured an all-electric model. Hybrids and EVs aren't new, but they have gotten short shrift in recent years due to a push from the brands. After all, what was the last Chevy Bolt Super Bowl commercial you remember?
So, what changed?
Put simply – the world. With climate change being recognized by governments and companies alike around the world as a concern, the switch to electric has kicked into high gear in during the last few years. Government subsidies and amazing performance reviews of the newest batch of vehicles have people lining up at dealerships and pre-ordering models online.
We have talked about it ad nauseam over the past year, so there’s no point in going over the why and the how of it all. A look at TUNDRA’s coverage on the topic and different models can be found here. Suffice it to say that electrification is the new black for cars, and the new Super Bowl ads are simply reflecting that reality back to us.
With all of that in mind let’s take a look at some of these trailblazers in the new norm of car ads:
The Hyundai IONIQ 5
This ad starred the hilariously dry and infinitely affable Jason Bateman (Ozark, Arrested Development) in a story that was meant to show us that the electric car of today has been a long time in the making, with little excerpts from the history of humankind showing us that we weren’t always right or polished. Ultimately leading us the new and refined EV in the form of the IONIQ.
But aside from the larger story of how sophisticated the electric car has become as a concept, the Hyundai IONIQ in and of itself is a pretty cool. It received the CNET’s award for best midsize electric car in 2022, as well as an Editor’s Choice Award from Car and Driver. The IONIQ is actually meant to be a sub-brand of Hyundai, so the IONIQ itself will have several different models over the years. That sounds good to us.
The Electric Silverado
The Sopranos are back baby, and they’re climate conscious! Invoking the opening title sequence from HBO’s megahit mafia series The Sopranos, Chevy really took us back to the mid-aughts. Using new imagery to reflect the world the character’s Anthony and Meadow Soprano now live in, they also remind us that despite the mob’s dedication to tradition, loyalty and the old ways, these folks are squarely living for today. You would have to be a stone to not get butterflies seeing Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler hug one another outside a New Jersey diner.
But the Silverado is the real star here, following in Tesla’s not yet released Cybertruck, with GM along with Ford and others releasing a slew of electric trucks into the market. With the gas version of the Silverado in competition with the Ford F-150 for bestselling car in the world this is an important commercial, and it’s interesting that Ford didn’t put the Lightning forward during the Super Bowl!
Dr. Evil/GM Ultium Platform and Battery System
In another (successful) attempt to pull at our nostalgia heart strings, (we) guess having a Sopranos reunion wasn’t enough, GM brought the shagadelic super-villain Dr. Evil and his henchmen/women from the Austin Powers movies back to tell us all about their new Ultium Platform. The bit revolves around Dr. Evil’s son Scott (played by Seth Green) convincing his father that in order to take over the world, he must save it first. Pretty apt mission statement for a multi-national conglomerate like GM if you ask us.
Ultium is basically a modular battery system that can be used by the various GM brands for their vehicles. It’s actually a pretty nifty solution to a tough logistical puzzle. But as Ultium is ultimately new and untested, we’ll have to wait and see.
All-Electric BMW iX
Sorry but all this ad did, aside from give us a small zap of wish fulfillment, is make us wonder why Selma Hayek and Arnold Schwarzenegger have yet to do a movie together. Because their on-screen chemistry as retired Olympian gods Zeus and Hera living in the suburbs was simply sublime. Come on – admit it! These two veteran actors really know how to sell a car.
Not that the car needs much selling. The iX, the all-electric version of BMW’s insanely popular X-series isn’t just another entry in the series – the power plant will also likely serve as the drivetrain for Rolls Royce’s first electric car as well. But man, seeing Arnold and Selma together… oh boy.
Kia’s new EV6 featured a robot dog in need of charging in this year’s Super Bowl commercial. (Inside EVs)
Kia’s new EV6 looks absolutely amazing, and the robotic puppy in the ad made us happy-cry tears so big they drowned the world in our joy. Another honorable mention was the Polestar commercial.
But there is another pattern aside from the obvious one, and it ties back to the point that all these ads are really doing is reflecting our reality back to us. Without getting too philosophical about it, all these ads featured a truck and an SUV nary a mid-size sedan or compact to be found (unless you count the new Nissan Z or Vroom ads) -- cars that were frowned upon as some of the biggest polluters, but were extremely popular nevertheless with the majority of car buyers. Now these cars can be enjoyed completely and guilt-free.
And if Super Bowl LVI taught us anything, aside from GO RAMS, it’s that.