Besides being one of the most – if not the most – epic games in recent Super Bowl history, 2017’s Super Bowl LI – that’s “51,” folks – also marked the first time we Canadians got the chance to watch an American feed, with American commercials.
Y’know, the ones that reportedly cost hundreds of thousands to make, and which usually get replaced by syrupy Tim Horton’s and CBC ads on our home networks? That’s no longer the case, but in case you missed them anyway, here’s what the auto industry got up to this year.
Kia Niro: “Hero’s Journey”
Well, the all-new Niro crossover is a hybrid, right? Naturally, the ad was going to be sprinkled with its fair share of environmentally conscious propaganda. Did they resort to the stereotypical violin playing over photos of gorgeous rushing rivers? No sir. Replace “violin” with “Night at the Roxbury soundtrack” and waterfalls with “Melissa McCarthy getting a rhino horn up her butt” and you get the gist. Kia has a penchant for good ads ’round this time, and this one doesn’t disappoint.
Buick: “Not So Pee Wee Football”
Carolina Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton may have had it rough in last year’s title bout, but I guess that wasn’t enough to prevent Buick from having him on this year. Watch as he throws the ball so hard, he catapults his receiver into the end zone along with it. Then watch as he celebrates by knocking over a few teammates, and checks out supermodel Miranda Kerr.
Honda CR-V: “Yearbooks”
This may have been one of the coolest of the year. Yes, it was an ad for the all-new CR-V, but the car appears for such a brief time at the end, you may never know it—the folks I was watching with sure didn’t. Instead, they were focused on the preamble, which had personalities including Steve Carell, Viola Davis, and Stan Lee doing voiceovers as animated versions of their actual high school yearbook photos lent words of wisdom. Pretty great.
Alfa Romeo Giulia: “Riding Dragons”
In addition to sponsoring the half-time show on Fox, Alfa brought not one, not two, but three spots to this year’s broadcast, all featuring the same car: the all-new Giulia. It was cool to see, but fairly standard performance-car-ad fare: panning shots of the car in Venice, on a mountain road, and elsewhere. No big-name actors, no crazy special effects. Then again: the thing’s so pretty, they didn’t need much more than that. Or maybe they couldn’t afford it, what with the half-time sponsorship and all.
Lexus LC: “Man and Machine”
Not a huge amount to write home about when it comes to the car content; pretty standard shots of new Lexus models such as the LS and LC, stuff people have likely seen if they paid any attention to the various auto shows currently sweeping across the globe. Indeed, the real feature of this – as is often the case ’round this time of year – is the human talent onhand, namely dancer Lil’ Buck, who makes the simple, daily act of getting into a car an event like you’ve never seen. And that LC Coupe is pretty. Durn pretty.
Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster: “Easy Driver”
Well, if you’re going to box a set of gang bikes into a parking spot, you’d better be doing it in a nice car, and you’d better be ready for the repercussions. Luckily for Peter Fonda, the bikers in this particular gang have obviously seen biker epic Easy Rider, because as soon as they see the actor and his pretty Mercedes-AMG GT Convertible, they’re smitten.
In this spot, Audi goes soapbox racing—well, that’s not entirely true. Far as we know, none of the vehicles in the on-screen derby are from the VW auto group motor pool, let alone Audi. Watch the ad closely, however, and you realize it’s not really about that (or the new-to-Canada S5 Sportback that appears briefly at the end). It’s more about the message, with Audi tackling gender equality issues in a none-too-subtle fashion.
BONUS: The Fate of the Furious trailer and The Simpsons
While the network stings and movie trailers are never going to quite have the oomph the big-name ads do, that’s not to say there isn’t some fun to be had. Take The Simpsons/Daytona crossover advert on Fox, for example—ever wanted to see Maggie on a big-wheel? Well, here’s your chance. And what car/movie buff worth his or her salt isn’t looking forward to The Fate of The Furious – the latest trailer aired during the game – at least a little?