The Super Bowl may be football’s biggest night, but it’s also the largest stage for another sport: The sport of professional advertising. Every year, agencies from around the world come together to compete for a Cannes Lion — or at least to be a trending Twitter topic on Monday. We asked for your least favorite automotive super bowl ads of all time this morning, and you came up with some great ones. Here are ten of the best.
Ram’s Martin Luther King Jr. Speech
Hey, remember the time Ram used an excerpt from an anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist, anti-advertising MLK sermon?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy can’t be understated. Apparently it can, however, be co-opted by parties entirely antithetical to his entire movement, message, and worldview. Ram received pushback for this ad, but it still got the brand’s name out there — exactly what Dr. King likely wouldn’t have wanted.
Submitted by: Darklighter
Fiat’s Little Blue Pill
Fiat 500 Boner Pill Edition
I remember discussing this ad in marketing school; going over its characters, framing, how it portrayed the brand. The concept is that a Viagra pill turns a little Fiat 500 into a crossover, to show all the Brand Consistency between the models, but by adding that Italian Sex Humor that Fiat is known for. Is this an Italian stereotype of which I’m unaware?
Submitted by: Half Man Half Bear Half Pig
For worst I’d say any of the GoDaddy ads from like a decade ago. I honestly don’t remember any specifics around them, just recall them leaning hard and into the “sex sells” concept in pretty cringe-worthy ways.
Not the question, but I think the 1 second Miller Highlife ad continues to be my favorite years later.
Even GoDaddy knows these commercials no longer fly. The company’s entire brand has shifted to a minimalist, clean aesthetic that wholly divorces itself from the “scantily clad women and flashy camera cuts” branding. When a company entirely abandons not only a campaign, but the entire brand image around it, you know things have gone wrong.
Submitted by: ItsDeke
Jeep’s Crushed Gladiator
The Jeep Gladiator ad where they crushed a classic one that was in nice shape
To Jeep’s credit, the company claims that the Gladiator it crushed was in terrible shape. Totally wrecked, purchased as salvage. Still, it looks to be in reasonably good shape in the ad — far better than some of the Jeeps we’ve come to know and love on this here website.
Submitted by: DoctorsTARDIS
GM’s Beef With Norway
While I wouldn’t call Will Farrell’s GM EV commercial from last year, the worst ever, GM trying to position themselves as EV leaders was pretty eye-rolling knowing how they’ve sat on the technology for decades and only jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to catch up to competitors.
The responses from Norway, however, were quite charming
Not only was this ad a weird boast from GM, progenitor and abandoner of the EV-1, but it didn’t actually flow very well as an ad. It’s manic, nonsensical, trying to fit too much into too little time and not explaining as it goes. Super Bowl ads always aim big, but this one in particular really fell short.
Submitted by: MaximilianMeen
Toyota’s Highlander Muppets
I feel like the Muppets shilling for the Highlander in 2014 is worse than the Escape. It’s more more chaotic and Muppety, but Highlanders have a ton of room for boring.
I remember first seeing this ad at a Super Bowl party, full of people who grew up on Muppets content. To them, the appeal to nostalgia worked. To me, who grew up watching John McClane more often than any Muppet, it just fell flat. Seeing as everyone who had that nostalgia was far too young to be purchasing a new Highlander anyway, it seems like an ill-timed ad.
Submitted by: Maymar
GM’s E85 Push
GM’s “Live Green, Go Yellow” ad from 2006 when everyone thought that E85 was the answer to all of our fossil fuel problems.
Ah, the halcyon days of E85. Back before it was sidelined into performance situations exclusively, adding horsepower to Subarus around the world, it was touted as a biofuel that would save the combustion engine and the environment. It didn’t.
Submitted by: 4Motion
Jeep’s Springsteen Speech
I kinda thought we were all in agreement that last year’s Bruce Springsteen Jeep ad won the polished turd award for Super Bowl car commercials?
Sometimes, you go incredibly high-budget and high-concept with your Super Bowl ads. Other times, you put a musician in an old Jeep and have them talk in a weird deadpan into a microphone about vague, American concepts. That’s marketing, baby.
Submitted by: NegativeEd
Vroom’s Used Car Torture
I never really liked this Vroom ad.
The biggest offense of this Vroom ad is that the sketchy, evil used car dealer has an immaculate late-model Lexus on the lot. This has the general aesthetic and feeling of a real buy-here-pay-here establishment, but it’s selling like-new luxury cars? The car casting here definitely needed a once-over.
Submitted by: IDM3
GM’s Suicidal Robot
It’s the GM “suicidal robot” ad from 2007.
A commercial so moronic, so lacking in anything approaching taste, that it’s apparently been scrubbed from the internet because I couldn’t find it online.
Would’ve loved to’ve been the fly on the wall for just how on Earth it got the Go signal from GM.
The big one. The ad so bad, it’s impossible to find on most video hosting sites. GM received an incredible amount of pushback from suicide prevention groups, after the company published an ad where a robot was fired and eventually jumped off a bridge, all because of a dropped bolt. Not only was the message incredibly insensitive, but any positive quality was entirely unclear. What were they even going for?
Submitted by: the 1969 Dodge Charger Guy