The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona in the most-watched event of the year, at least Stateside.
However, for many the on-pitch action is secondary to the half-time spectacle, where advertisers have the chance to reach around 100 million people based on ratings of recent years.
The automakers willing to open their wallets to run their celebrity-endorsed advertisements this year included General Motors, Jeep, Ram, and Kia.
Forbes has reported that a 30-second advertisement slot at this year’s Super Bowl set businesses back a whopping US$7 million ($10 million), which might explain why fewer automakers jumped at the opportunity this year.
The car cameos in this year’s Super Bowl commercial lineup were obviously dominated by electric vehicles, with brands in the US happy to put their weight behind the move away from combustion vehicles thanks to the support of President Biden’s EV federal tax credit incentive.
Jeep used its Super Bowl slot to show customers that the brand is serious about electrification. The one-minute advertisement showcases the two models spearheading Jeep’s electric future: the Wrangler 4xe and Grand Cherokee 4xe, both of which are plug-in hybrids.
The off-roading models are shown dramatically navigating the great outdoors through desert and jungle with a full cabin of happy passengers.
Jeep is hoping to make it clear to its American audience that it is serious about an electric future that doesn’t compromise on the capability of its core offering.
Heavy on innuendo, Ram made its case for the 1500 REV, the brand’s first electric pickup due in North America from late 2024.
Stellantis-owned Ram not only used the big event to launch the model, but simultaneously talked to their customers who might still need some convincing to jump on the EV train.
Instead of providing technical details on the model, Ram’s 60-second showcase suggests that the brand understands the plight of the hesitant EV customer and that the 1500 REV will solve the worry of ‘Premature Electrification’ by eliminating range anxiety.
General Motors was definitely the big spender this year, running a series of 30- to 60-second clips in partnership with Netflix.
GM and Netflix, both keen to highlight their commitment to a sustainable future, have used the coveted slots over the course of the Super Bowl weekend to show Will Ferrell parading various GM EVs through scenes of iconic Netflix shows, including Squid Game, Bridgerton, and Stranger Things.
This partnership won’t end at the Super Bowl, with a range of GM EVs set to be subtly showcased in Netflix programming such as Love Is Blind and Queer Eye over the next year.
Perhaps missing the EV brief for automakers at this year’s Super Bowl, Kia showcased its petrol-powered Telluride X-Pro SUV.
In the ‘ruggedly capable’ family vehicle, the lighthearted advertisement takes viewers on a journey with a dad who navigates across winding mountain roads, ski slopes, construction sites, and a football pitch to retrieve his baby’s dummy.
For Kia’s 14th Super Bowl commercial, the brand used the Telluride X-Pro as the chosen vehicle to cement its reputation as a Super Bowl regular, incorporating it into an ad campaign that spanned over all of Kia’s social platforms in the lead-up to the game.
Volkswagen partnered with Marvel Studios to promote the ID.4 but didn’t have the budget to command Paul Rudd’s star power on this occasion.
Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania has just been released, so the superhero tie-in allowed Volkswagen to highlight the interior tech features of the electric ID.4 crossover SUV.
Perhaps the most notable car-related ad during this year’s Super Bowl was an attack aimed at the safety credentials of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving safety system.
Run by the Dawn Project, and funded by software company CEO Dan O’Dowd, the ad aired in select markets, including Washington DC, and several state capitals.
O’Dowd has been a vocal critic of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Driving (FSD) system, claiming it to be the “most incompetently designed, developed and tested automotive product on the market”, and even running unsuccessfully for a seat in the US Senate on a platform to ban FSD from public roads.
Other notable mentions from non-automakers include the fleet of black Dodge Chargers in the official trailer for the tenth installment of the Fast and Furious film, and the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 otherwise known as Mirage in the trailer for the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.