February 5, 2014

Super Bowl 2014 Car Ads: Never Mind

Every year, every automotive writer in the US goes nuts over the car ads that are premiered at the Super Bowl. It's the single most-watched event in the year, and ads cost a cool $4 million for a 30-second spot.

This is apparently such a big deal that the ads merit being "leaked" before the big game. There are official ads for the ads. And teasers for the ads for the ads. You get my drift: there is a lot of hype surrounding these ads.

I was looking forward to shredding a few ads myself, as I did last year and for 2012. But I sat down on Monday morning and flipped through the ads (I don't have TV and didn't watch the game; besides, I'm more into proper football where feet kick a ball, not so much into a game where - mostly - hands throw around an egg-shaped object).

It was dismal.

Ads came in three broad categories: things you can eat or drink (some of it I wouldn't call "food"); things you don't need; and cars. There were nearly 90 ads in total.

This is surreal: half the "game" you watch is dedicated to the ads. And plenty of people watch the game so that they can watch the ads premiere. It's like standing in front of the screen, baring the finely-tuned lyre that is your soul, and seeing which strings will be plucked - over and over - in the coming months as the barrage of advertising washes over you. That's creepy.

This year, the ads weren't even worth the hype. The car ads were mostly mediocre, none of them very funny, and some downright weird. Angel wings on auto engineers? If I were a German engineer I'd apply to BMW first. Stay away from those feathers.

One observer tweeted that for him, the Kia ad ruined The Matrix forever. I guess they couldn't very well have Laurence Fishburn reprise his wonderfully broody Othello in a car ad. Can you just imagine:

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on -

Oh wait, that would be Iago's lines. Never mind.

And then there was Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan! - hawking Chrysler. Any questions that arise around that have answers that are blowing in an evil wind indeed. Let us say no more about it.

Instead, try this: Here is an ad that is very much worth watching - and would never have made it into the Super Bowl.

Proud To Be



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