The tradition of watching the Super Bowl “for the ads” runs almost as deep as watching it for the sport. It’s home to some of the biggest budgets in advertising, and both brands and agencies are aiming to break into the Monday news cycle by making something memorable. Sometimes, they hit. Other times, they miss. Hard.
Car ads at the Super Bowl are as stalwart as Clydesdales showing up to shill Budweiser, and have been for decades. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of commercials that automakers have spent untold amounts of money making. Today’s question is simple: What’s the worst one?
Initially, I thought I had my own answer picked out. Surely, the worst Super Bowl ad is the Cadillac ELR Poolside commercial. You remember, that one that talked about how any time spent not working is inherently un-American, lazy, and not to be tolerated? In retrospect, I’m not sure why Cadillac thought “Don’t you love the idea of working until you die? You could buy this shiny Volt!,” would play well with audiences.
But, in some sort of Mandela Effect twist, the Poolside ad didn’t air at the Super Bowl. It was an Oscars ad, making it ineligible for today’s top (bottom?) spot. So, that honor will go to another terrible big game commercial: Kermit the Frog, selling out to shill for Ford.
You remember Kermit, the lovable muppet so brusquely cast off of Sesame Street by the villain Elmo. Kermit is green, and has been known for his activism on the front of being the same color as leaves for years. The connection to environmentally-friendly vehicles just makes sense, from a marketing perspective.
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The problem comes with Kermit himself selling out. This is a Sesame Street character, a beloved icon of children’s programming, now hawking Fords on TV — the way a washed-up star high school athlete may eventually find solace within the walls of a used car dealership.
What’s your least-favorite Super Bowl car ad? One that felt like bad fit for the brand, for the event, or one that simply rubbed you the wrong way? We’ll collect our favorite answers this afternoon, so we’ll need your pitches before EOD.