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Autoweek ranks the automakers' Super Bowl ads

Tue, 05 Feb 2013

Neither Blake Z. Rong nor Davey G. Johnson watched the Super Bowl. Johnson spent the day lounging in the sun eating napoleons, drinking Cokes, smoking cigarettes and skanking to the first English Beat record. Rong spent the day in front of the television, Fanta in hand, thumbing his RCA remote past a History Channel marathon titled “What If Humans Suddenly Became Birds?”

The rest of our editorial staff was perhaps a bit more responsibly American and actually watched the game, so we polled everybody and ranked the ads from first to worst, then -- for reasons we're still unsure of -- let our two Cali dorks loose upon them. Think of us as the Siskel and Ebert of car ads. Or, at the very least, Gene Shalit.

1. Audi: "Prom"

Rong: My dream job is to someday relive my prom through an expertly filmed car commercial. Wait, is that weird? Regardless, the Audi ad is as creative as marketing creatives with "stories to tell" get to be, with a cool vibe, a soundtrack with a Jesus and Mary Chain/Black Rebel Motorcycle Club vibe (the song, here) and a beautiful car doesn't hurt, either. The kid looks like he's 26. The dad looks like he's 36. And the "prom king" looks like a Norse Biff Tannen. The fact that Audi didn't show that other rite of teenage passage shows remarkable restraint on its part.

Johnson: Audi's ad features a kid too good-looking to be going stag to the prom. He's also seemingly without friends. Perhaps nobody in the shallow pool of hormones known as high school likes him because he's a psychopath who revels in sexually harassing women? On second thought, Silicon Valley's full of Audi drivers just like him. Demo-targeting excellence, four-ring people. Let's bro down and crush some code.

2. Hyundai: "Team"

Rong: Bring on the A-Team -- or, call it the H-Team. As soon as I figure out what movie the entire montage was a reference to, I'll revert to my bullied high-school self and declare that a schoolyard revenge concept automatically wins.

Johnson: This example of fun, solid advertising is my personal favorite of this year's crop. A script as old as Charles Atlas with a few fun deviations thown in. It features welding, a freaking bear, a Santa Fe in brown and the vocal talents of both Jeff Bridges and the late Kevin DuBrow. Say “Kevin DuBrow” out loud to yourself. It's oddly satisfying. Now, say it again. Stomp your hands, clap your feet, stomp the competition.

3. Ram: “Farmer”

Rong: I grew up to the gruff, yet comforting sound of Paul Harvey's voice, though half the time it was usually for that mattress he was shilling. Though I remember him sounding a lot more gentle. He presides over a commercial devoid of stirring orchestral music or mothers crying over American flags, that still manages to out-patriot those hoary clich

By Autoweek Staff