Even if you take no interest in what the Americans call football, you can’t have helped but notice it was the Super Bowl last night.

The NFL’s championship game was won by the Seattle Seahawks (no, we hadn’t heard of them either), but aside from the on-pitch action, America’s most watched sporting event also features some of the best advertisements ever committed to film, with everyone from soft drinks makers to designer labels aiming to maximise the money shelled out for what is the most expensive advertising slot in the world, the halftime interval.

The world’s car manufacturers put in a strong showing at this year’s event.

Below are our top five Super Bowl car ads:

Kia – ‘The Truth’

Kia’s attempt to break into the German dominated luxury market (stateside at least) begins with its new K900 saloon. The Korean manufacturer roped in Laurence Fishburn’s Morpheus from the 'Matrix' trilogy, who as a valet, tells a couple to “take the red key and you’ll never look at luxury the same again”. Predictably, they don’t take the blue key, and are suitably impressed with the rakish Kia. Things go a bit mad from this point, as Fishburne goes all Pavarotti and belts out Nessun Dorma, while everything blows up, Matrix-stylee, around the car.

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Volkswagen – ‘Wings’

VW’s effort sees a take on the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ theme, only rather than angels getting their wings every time a bell rings, a father explains to his skeptical daughter how a Volkswagen engineer has got his wings now his car has clicked over to 100,000 miles. Cue a montage of engineers around a VW plant unexpectedly sprouting wings in all manner of inconvenient situations, with the German manufacturer hammering home the benefits of its German engineering. Unbelieving, the daughter then jokingly asks if rainbows appear from where the sun doesn’t shine when a VW reaches 200,000 miles. You can guess what happens next.

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Jaguar – ‘British Villains’

Frankly, with a car as exciting as the F-Type Coupe, Jaguar could have just left it parked outside the Super Bowl stadium for half an hour with no explanation, and let social media take care of the rest. Instead, it decided to give the American audience a lesson in Brit cool, bringing in an all-star cast including ‘Gandhi’ star Ben Kingsley to explain why it’s good to be bad. Way to fly the flag, Jaguar.

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Audi – ‘Doberhuahua’

A rather nightmarish vision from Audi for its turn in the limelight, in the form of the Doberhuahua. As the name suggests, it’s the compromised choice of two dog lovers looking for a new pet. One wants a big guard dog, the other a tiny hand-bag yapper. Instead, they breed the two, creating a frightening looking beast that can be used for both catwalk chic and for killing burglars, and which inevitably causes mayhem. Is Audi saying "buy our new A3 Saloon to stop the world from descending into chaos"? Take a look for yourself.

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Ford – ‘Nearly Double’

Ford’s US market Fusion will eventually make it to Europe, where it will become the new Mondeo. The US car giant has been raving about the new hybrid version which it claims doubles the fuel range of an ‘average vehicle’ (a hulking great pick-up truck, then?). What better way to advertise it, than to create an advert that’s “double the length, double the awesomeness” and get Hollywood star James Franco to cuddle up a Tiger. That kind of sets the tone for this minute and a half of over-the-top Americanism, which sees the car bathed in flower petals and flown over by fighter jets.<.p>

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Picture REX/Qi Heng

Daljinder Nagra


February 3, 2014

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