Super Bowl 2009 Car Ad Craziness

Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe

We know: You don’t watch it for the football, but for the ads. Setting aside those moronic “drinkability” beer gatherings and the smoke- and noise-filled macho truck competitions that all look the same, we saw some good car commercials during Super Bowl 2008.

Audi’s Godfather ad was one.

And in the same screaming vein, so was Bridgestone Tire’s squirrel ad.

This year Bridgestone and Castrol will be back, we hear, along with Hyundai—showing off the Genesis coupe. Some Internet wag stole this still from the commercial featuring the Genesis driven by Rhys Millen and Bach played by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Bach finally comes to Road Atlanta.

Preposterous ads with automotive people and themes will be there once again. You can’t forget the fat guy who drinks Amp and jump-starts the lady’s car with cables attached to his, ahem, nipples. Can Amp ever top this performance?

There will be a new ad starring Indy driver Danica Patrick, once more giving her all for Go-Daddy websites in a titillating courtroom drama.

But it won’t be all T and A this year—not in this economy. Each 30-second spot costs about $3 million to air (not including production costs), and at last report NBC has a few left to sell. U.S. automakers are sitting this game out. Still, besides Audi and Hyundai, Toyota will play, presumably with this silly Corolla ad.

For 2009, GM and all the U.S. carmakers have cut their ad budgets severely. We’ll see less TV and print, more Internet. Apparently only one company, Audi, will increase its ad dollars by 15%, for events, online and media, encouraged by growth in sales figures and general interest.

Their Super Bowl ad will be 60 seconds, like the Godfather. Will it top that one, which got great response? Stay tuned, as they say.

What do you think was the best Super Bowl car ad last year? Does humor in car advertising work better than “features and benefits”?

—jgoods

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