2018 Super Bowl Car Ads: Ranked
While the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles took the field for Super Bowl LII, advertisers also showed up to play for the big game by dropping upwards of $5 million for a 30-second spot during the year’s most-watched televised event, which commanded an estimated 100 million viewers.
With Super Bowl ads being as highly anticipated as the game itself, which automakers delivered ads worthy of their ad spend and who fell flat? Here are my definitive rankings:
#6) Dodge Ram: I’m not sure who’s having a worse Monday morning: the people behind the Ram ad using Martin Luther King’s speech or Tom Brady. The ad received widespread backlash by those who felt it exploited MLK’s message in an attempt to help sell trucks. While we recognize that the ad was meant to inspire people to serve, we feel that (much like Gostowski’s 26-yard attempt before halftime) it missed its target. They also had another spot that featured a truck full of Vikings, which was clever on its own but overshadowed by Ram’s other failed attempt.
#5) Lexus LS 500 F Sport: This Black Panther spot ranks fifth not because it wasn’t a good ad, but because the field was so competitive. Also, I’m admittedly not the target audience having slept through The Avengers and not attempting another such movie since. The car itself is pretty impressive, and I’m sure that I’m in the minority of the population who didn’t get fired up for this ad.
#4) Kia Stinger: I enjoyed this ad, but it fell in the middle of the pack for me probably due to my indifference for Steven Tyler. However, I think it was highly effective in having the audience shift its perception of Kia, which has never before been viewed as having the characteristics of a high-performing sports car. All in all, a clever and successful showing.
#3) Jeep: Jeep had three spots during the broadcast, with the first two being what you would expect for commercials from the automaker. The first ad was simple and effective – featuring a voice over about reaching the end of the road and not actually showing an image of a Jeep until the 24-second mark. Then the 2019 Cherokee emerges in all its glory in an off-road scene reflective of the Jeep persona. The second ad, in contrast, zeroes in on a making its way through a lake and driving up a waterfall. But unlike typical ads featuring off-roading vehicles, the serene setting and simple camera work made it seem like Jeep wasn’t trying too hard and that such an adventure could be a common occurrence for a Jeep owner. The last ad paid homage to Jurassic Park starting with a scene from the original movie featuring Jeff Goldblum in a Jeep telling the driver to “go faster” then cutting to present-day as he’s behind the wheel of a 2018 Rubicon with a T-Rex right on his tail. Alas, not a common occurrence for a Jeep owner, but this had the makings of a thrilling car chase scene and got us excited for the next installment of the movie franchise, which evidently is coming to theaters in summer 2018.
#2) Hyundai: The fact that Hyundai’s two ads deeply resonated with me gave them a high ranking on my list. The Hope on Wheels ad tugged at my heartstrings, and since I’m a strong proponent of ads that make me cry, this spot earned high marks. The second ad, which featured a youth soccer ref handing out red cards to every player so parents could get home to watch the Super Bowl, was clever and gave me a glimpse into my own future as my daughter is nearing youth soccer age and showing a knack for kicking things. It’s the first-ever ad for the Kona, which will be available to consumers in March and time will tell if this ad will contribute to a successful debut.
#1) Toyota: Toyota always seems to perform well on our iSeeCars rankings lists, and their Super Bowl ads proved to continue this trend. Toyota had three spots during the big game, and in my opinion, two of which were among the best ads of the night across all consumer categories. The first, which was my favorite of the night, aired before kickoff, and gave an inspiring glimpse into the making of a Paralympic games champion through Lauren Woolstencroft, an eight-time Paralympic gold medallist born without legs below the knee and no left arm below the elbow. The second titled “One Team” featured a picking up a rabbi, a priest, an imam, and a monk to race to a football game where they joined nuns in the stands delivering a message of unity in a very comedic way. The third ad titled “Mobility Anthem” positioned Toyota as an innovator of mobility solutions and showcased a flying car and a motorized wheelchair, proving that Toyota helps people move across all ages and physical abilities.
Thank you advertisers for justifying my excitement for Super Bowl ads year after year!