Sunday, February 3, 2008

Superbowl Car Ads Review

Like millions of people, I watched the Superbowl today and took in all the spectacle, including the Superbowl TV ads. You can always count on the beer companies to spend millions during the Superbowl, but the car manufacturers are also typically aggressive in their ad spend. This year, Toyota and Hyundai went big with 2 placements each. For fun, I thought I would review and rate all of the car-related ads in the 2008 Superbowl.

Audi was the first car manufacturer with an ad in the 1st quarter. I was surprised that they took out a 60-second spot that featured their new R8, an exotic car. The messaging was "old luxury just got put on notice, Audi and the R8 are here". I thought this was a bit of a mixed messaging -- was Audi trying to tout the R8 (currently selling for ~$165k according to as a luxury car, or was the R8 a halo car to emphasize the engineering and performance for the rest of the Audi luxury lineup? Grade: C+

Toyota was next with a Corolla ad, which emphasized features like good sound proofing in a cost efficient car. The ad was pretty mainstream and something that you would expect from Toyota. Grade: B

Next was a Lexus ad featuring the GS in all sorts of drifts and power slides. The ad was very well done and typical in the Lexus style. Grade: A-

In the 2nd quarter, GMC also had an ad for the GMC Yukon Hybrid. The ad was very progressive and showed GMC as an environmentally conscious company. Grade: B+

In the 3rd quarter, Hyundai went aggressively after the luxury makes BMW & Mercedes with their ad featuring the Hyundai Genesis. The pitch was "as spacious as a Mercedes S-class but at the same price as a C-class". This was a very bold statement and we'll have to see if consumers will buy into the Genesis. To get an idea of how much a Mercedes C-class actually cost, check out the various C230 prices at Grade: B+

Also in the 3rd quarter, Toyota showed an ad for their Sequoia SUV. Again, this was a fairly safe ad that was similar to what you would expect from Toyota. No surprises here. Grade: B+

In the 4th quarter, Hyundai came back again with another ad for their new Genesis. This time, in addition to BMW and Mercedes, Hyundai also called out Lexus. The pitch was similar as the first Genesis ad, but this time targeted at BMW with a "more spacious than a BMW 7-series, but priced like a 3-series" messaging. For a sample of what the BMW 3-series might actually cost, check out Again, very bold and we'll have to see if consumers will buy into it. Grade: B

In addition to the car manufacturers, Bridgestone Tires,, and Garmin also had prominent ad spots.

The Bridgestone ads were well done, clear in the messaging, and were my favorite ads during the Superbowl. Grade: A

On the other hand, the ad was a bit goofy but still somewhat entertaining. Grade: B-

The Garmin ad was similar to the ad, a bit goofy but still entertaining. Grade: B

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