Laugh and Cry: The Top Automotive Commercials of Super Bowl LIV

Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium hosted Super Bowl LIV this last Sunday. It was truly a South Florida event with the San Francisco 49ers ad the Kansas City Chiefs vying for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Every year, there is a debate about who cares about what. The game – some get not it; others could care less. The halftime show – the same reaction.

But, we watch the game for the commercials, right? Or, don't. That is why we have YouTube and other social media and streaming services to handle that. With the average 30-minute commercial costing around $5.6 million, you bet that the agencies and the brands are getting their best game face on.

Of course, I want to see what the automakers are doing for the $5.6 million or more they spent on getting their spot on the Super Bowl LIV telecast.

There were three different ads that caught my eye this time around.

HYUNDAI – 2020 SONATA "SMAHT PAHK": Put Chris Evans, Rachel Dratch, John Krasinski, and David Ortiz on a typical street in a Boston neighborhood, ridicule some guy who cannot "pahk" his Honda Accord only to see the magic of the new Hyundai Sonata's Remote Smart Parking Assist feature unfold. It may seem like the actor from "The Office" (the USA series that was on NBC, that is) was showing off, but Krasinski was just showing all of Boston that his "cah" can "pahk" itself without him inside of it. This ground-breaking feature was impressive enough to get Big Papi’s attention. I’m sure you giggled as I did.

JEEP – 2020 GLADIATOR "GROUNDHOG DAY": I love the original "Groundhog Day" movie. Bill Murray was at his comedic best. Considering that Super Bowl LIV fell on Groundhog Day, what a way for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to make their Super Bowl return. If you remember the movie, Murray steals a groundhog from the Punxsutawney minders and takes it on a ride in a Jeep Gladiator. You will see cameos by his brother Brian Doyle Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky from the original movie. It’s great to see this all tying into the broader theme by replaying the movie with a fun-to-drive Gladiator, even with the doors and roof off in the middle of winter. Just hope that Murray finds where he parked the Gladiator.

KIA – 2021 SELTOS "TOUGH NEVER QUITS": Kia wants to do something about the homeless situation in this country. We see a child running down the street, with the Oakland (now, Las Vegas) Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs driving alongside the child in a new 2021 Seltos. The kid suddenly appears in the passenger seat, as Jacobs gives his narrative about giving kids a chance to be someone greater than they are now. This was a powerful ad, as Kia gives you a very human story – similar to their Telluride ad in last year’s Super Bowl. This story is to work towards ending youth homelessness. It also helps to have someone who experienced homelessness in his youth – Jacobs. If this ad does not evoke some sort of emotion, you better check your soul (and not your Kia Soul).

TOYOTA – 2020 HIGHLANDER "HEROES": Imagine your fantasy carpool. Being the lucky driver of those left behind. Except you are picking up a hazmat rescuer, a cowboy, a sci-fi hero, and your son. The point of this commercial is to taut the new Highlander's three-row passenger capacity, which needs a hard sell in comparison to the two big stars of the mid-size three-row SUV game – the Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride. And, Cobie Smulders plays her mom role perfectly. It made me giggle and very curious about the new 2020 Highlander.

Cover photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America. Advertisements courtesy of Hyundai Motor America, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Kia Motors America, and Toyota Motor North America.

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