Ford Battles GM—Over Super Bowl Ad
In Mexico, where I watched the Super Bowl and drank mezcal with friends, ESPN cut away to Mexican ads, so I missed out on the much-ballyhooed car commercials. We watched stuff like DoveMenCare with only a quick shot of a Maserati.
But the U.S. ads were all online this morning, including the much-praised Chrysler-Clint Eastwood “inspirational” ode to Detroit, and most were frankly pretty asinine. I know, this will likely be a minority opinion.
The dumbest, by far, was Chevy’s end-of-the-world drama featuring the Silverado. (Anything featuring a Barry Manilow track in the background is bound to be bad.) As destruction reigns and frogs rain from the sky, only the Silverados survive. “Dave,” driving a Ford, didn’t make it, and the guys celebrate by eating Twinkies.
Ford made its own mistake by complaining and requesting that GM pull the ad. GM said no, and marketing chief Joel Ewanick had a field day crowing about the ad and giggling over Ford’s response, which, indeed, was whiny and accomplished nothing. Ford ran no Super Bowl ads, which, it acknowledged, had been a mistake.
One may well ask what this childish nonsense has to do with selling cars and why GM would deliberately incite a pissing contest with its crosstown rival. I don’t know. Car marketing seems to have gone so far off the mark—with its reliance on dogs and other animals (Volkswagen, Suzuki, Hyundai) and total irrelevancy (Toyota’s Camry ad)—that it may never recover.
Audi’s vampire ad below is maybe the worst of the lot.
The only interesting thing about it is to wonder what was said during the “creative” discussions at Venables Bell & Partners, the agency that produced this monstrosity of irrelevancy.
So, almost by default, the Clint Eastwood ad that Chrysler ran stood out against the pack. It was sentimental, yes, patriotic (always potent during the Super Bowl), and well-produced. Thanks, Chrysler, for a moment of audiovisual relief.
I think the sense of humor in America, particularly in car marketing, has been on a steep decline. Do you agree?