2024 Super Bowl Car Ads: Touchdowns, Field Goals, and Penalties

YouTube/Volkswagen USA

For those of us who call Michigan home, there was something sorely missing from this year’s Super Bowl: our Detroit Lions. Again. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. 

Sadly, the Lions—whose principal owner is Sheila Ford Hamp, a descendant of both the Ford and Firestone families—weren’t the only Detroiters who didn’t show up for the big game. For the third straight season, Ford Motor Company sat out too, choosing not to spend $7 million for a 30-second commercial on CBS. General Motors? Nope. Stellantis, the conglomerate that owns Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler? Nada.

Fortunately, several automakers played like champions. So did the Kansas City Chiefs, who after a slow start defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25–22 in overtime to claim their second consecutive Super Bowl title. Cheers to all who entertained us on and off the field, and even those who tried and failed. We appreciate the effort.


Volkswagen USA: “Arrival”

Most great Super Bowl commercials are great because they make us laugh, but some hit us right in the heart. Count Volkswagen’s “Arrival” among the latter. Celebrating VW’s 75 years in the USA, starting when the Beetle turned heads and changed minds upon its arrival in 1949, this commercial is actually an “American Love Story.” Using Neil Diamond’s impassioned 1971 hit “I Am … I Said” as the soundtrack and utilizing both actual and recreated film footage and photos, VW did the opposite of its award-winning “Think Small” ad campaign. It dreamed big and absolutely nailed it, right down to its ending tagline: “We shape its metal. You shape its soul.” (We’ve included the two-minute version above because it’s twice as nice as the one-minute version that ran during the third quarter.)

BMW i5 M60: “Talkin’ Like Walken”

Admit it: You’ve done your own Christopher Walken impression before. Lots of times, in fact. You probably started way back in 2000 when Walken appeared on Saturday Night Live and scored laughs (even from the cast) in his role as record producer Bruce Dickinson. “I have a fever, and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!”

BMW knows us all too well. From the valet to the coffee barista to the tailor to the makeup artist to the waiter, everyone in this ad for the new i5 M60 electric sedan is “Talkin’ Like Walken.” The commercial ends with a proclamation from the announcer: “There’s only one Christopher Walken, and only one ultimate driving machine,” before he goes into his own Walken impersonation: “The rest are just imitations.” Walken, driving his BMW, laughs: “Come on.”

Nailed it.

Toyota Tacoma: “Dareful Handle”

Toyota had a banner day Sunday, especially considering that (according to Ad Age) it was going to skip the Super Bowl entirely until CBS came calling. Thankfully, Toyota’s marketing team already had a great commercial in the can: “Dareful Handle,” which refers to that handy dandy interior safety feature that we often call the “Jesus Bar”—as in, “Oh, Jesus, please save me while I hang on for dear life.”

As the camera jumps from one frightened passenger to the next, we’re shown an orange Tacoma kickin’ up dust while doing donuts and other herky-jerky maneuvers at high speed. “Introducing the most powerful Tacoma ever,” the announcer says, “With [echoing the truck’s flustered passengers] the ‘Shut the Front Door!’ handle … also known as the ‘Seriously Rob!’ handle … or the ‘Woah, woah, woah … woah, woah!’ handle … or the ‘No Me Gusta! (I don’t like!)’ handle … standard.”

Kia EV9: “Perfect 10”

Kia went the VW route, tugged at our heartstrings, and delivered another winner. Showcasing its new EV9, “the first mass-market three-row EV SUV in the U.S.,” the car isn’t just for transportation, it’s designed to be a mobile power source. When a young skater’s grandfather misses her performance, she brings the show to him and dazzles on a lighted rink just outside his window—and the Kia EV9 provides the juice. Well done.

BONUS: Toyota Tacoma: “Celebration”

This ad was among those offered up during the week leading up to the game, so even though it didn’t have an official time slot, we thought we’d include it. In “Celebration,” a herd of Tacomas—and motorcycles, and even a souped-up riding lawn mower—roar through a canyon before stopping, en masse, at a desolate cabin. When a bearded man comes to the door, one of the Tacoma drivers asks, “Can Billy come out to play?” The man, who we quickly deduce is Billy, shouts “YES! Woohoo!” and jumps into his own Tacoma to join the fun.

Field Goal

Kawasaki Ridge: “Mullets”

In this mildly amusing spot, everyone who comes in contact with Kawasaki’s up-market, four-cylinder side-by-side—even a (formerly) bald eagle and wrestler Steve “Stone Cold” Austin—suddenly wears a mullet. “Business in the front, party in the back. The all-new Kawasaki Ridge.”

Pluto TV: “Couch Potatoes”

Cute. And yes, we know, it isn’t an automotive commercial. But it has a fictional Pluto tractor in it, so it gets in on a technicality. “This here, this is Pluto TV country. Here on this farm, we grow couch potatoes.” The best line in this ad, showing potatoes glued to their couch, thanks to Pluto’s streaming television service? “I like anything where a hot person throws a glass of wine at another hot person.”

Turbo Tax: Streamer

Kris came to Turbo Tax because she “switched gears from delivering part-time to streaming full time.” The ad has almost nothing to do with cars, except that when she makes the switch she suddenly becomes part of a fast-driving video game. “That’s how you corner chat!” Don’t we all wish filing our taxes was this fun?


The Dawn Project: “Boycott Tesla Now”

Like a football referee who calls out both teams for messing up, we’re introducing this new category for an ad that ultimately left nobody in a better position.

Dan O’Dowd is a tech entrepreneur who heads The Dawn Project, a group that wants to ban Tesla’s “defective self-driving software,” which “drives like a drunk teenager.” The fact that Tesla tends to pirouette away from liability claims when its cars get into accidents while using the autosteer system is not lost on The Dawn Project. It’s the second year in a row the group has purchased ad space during the big game to criticize Tesla, according to The Washington Post. We agree, of course, that software shouldn’t put the lives of people at risk, but a night of festivities and sports didn’t feel like the right venue for this ad.



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    Hard disagree – the game was great, and many of the commercials were also, including a couple of the car ones, above. And…some were not so great.

    I went to a Superbowl party but I was unable to muster the appropriate outrage when the beautiful blonde superstar was on the screen so the hosts asked me to leave. So, like a lot of the folks here I saw few commercials. But the couple I saw were nice.

    Yrs, the Toyota ice skating power source was touching…even if they didn’t account for the smooth and clear rink outside grandpa’s window (perhaps the Toyota carried a Zamboni?).

    But an easier and far less expensive solution for the skating rink lights is a simple extension cord from the house.

    So I guess this comment tells us how effective a use of capital it was for Toyota – wait I mean Kia – to run their $14 million ad.

    Starting in 1964 my family bought Volkswagens. 64 bug, 65 bus, 70 bus, 67 convertible bug, 72 Karmann Ghia, 74 Super Beetle convertible, 68 Squareback, 74 Squareback, etc. All told 14 VWs.
    That commercial last night caught my attention, made me nostalgic, and then made me sad.
    Sick of EVs being shoved in my face.


    Agreed! And the same to my favorite brand, Porsche. EVs suck. The EV Macan “only” weighs 800 lbs more that its namesake gasoline Macan. Few want EVs and any company that directs all of its energy on them will have difficulty surviving into the future.

    Well, the Dawn Project ad was a complete pack of lies and totally inappropriate. Too bad Dan O’ Dowd feels so threatened by a superior competitor (Elon Musk). Tesla Autopilot is now flawless and the best thing to ever happen to highway driving.

    Your list of VW vehicles you purchased over the years, has cemented in history the thousands of dollars you sent to Germany as a “Thank You” for starting the largest war in history. I’m sure the German government is appreciative of your gifts.

    Wow…nothing like living in the past.

    My dad was a Navy Atlantic Theater vet from WWII, yet forgave the Germans enough to drive my Beetle, and even consider buying a BMW (he stayed with Buicks, in the end, more suited to his driving style).

    We should be a LOT more concerned with our potential enemies of today, such as Communist China, and the cars (and other stuff) built there and shipped here.

    I would be inclinded to agree with you. My grandfather was a WWII USAAC vet who spent time in Burma (read, the Japanese side of the war)…yet basically got fed up and gave up on anything coming out of Detroit in the 70’s and 80’s and started buying Japanese.

    Toyotas mostly, but there was the odd American branded Japanese car as well (74 and 76 Dodge Colts).

    Funny, my Dad had a 71 Super Beetle, he was 9th AAF Troop Carrier C-47. He made two trips on D-Day, plus several other big ones. He got it from the original owner, a good friend of the family, who always joked, he saw Italy on his belly!

    We never owned a VW in my family while I was growing up, but VWs were iconic, so the commercial was well received. I liked the callback to the Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial several years back. That was another great VW spot.

    Obviously the Kia Electric skating commercial missed it’s target when people think it was a Toyota. My favorites were the VW commercial (nostalgia city) and the Talkin like Walken BMW effort. But at $7 million per commercial spot they sure better be good.

    Sadly I didn’t see a single minute of the over-hyped Super Bowl. The thought of seeing the dreaded Taylor/Travis even one more time was more than I could take. Dear God I hope they can just fade away now…..

    I myself am keeping my air-cooled cars and those that run on gasoline. EV sales are slumping badly for a good reason; let’s continue improving IC engines and slide into EVs more gradually. Stop trying to propagandize this topic, VW.

    How is that any different?

    And, in today’s world, there is always someone proselytizing for something; we just need to learn to ignore it, if we don’t like it.

    His comment is only an opinion on the Hagerty blog. It’s not like he is spending millions of dollars for Superbowl airtime.

    There was only one that registered anything and that was the State Farm stop with Arnold saying
    Good Nayba.

    The rest sucked. We all may want to note more about the companies that were not there this year vs the past. It is telling.

    Loved the VW commercial especially with Neil Diamond singing. The part that showed kids pilling into the Bug reminded me of a contest in High School. We held a competition during lunch hour to see how many students could get into a Bug. Once it was loaded it had to start and move 20 ft. The winner got 19 people in it.

    If imported cars are so freakin’ great why do they need TV ads to sell them? They are perfect. I have heard this for decades. They shouldn’t require a low IQ standard mini TV series of action shots and family get togethers’ to sell products that are so great. Just great. In fact the mystery of how great these cars are ends when you see how packed the dealers service bays are with warranty work. My last job was at a GM dealer dualed with a Honda store. There were far more Honda engines out and being worked on than the GM shop, shocking, considering how great they are. Every maginzine I have ever picked up since the middle 70’s even told us how just great imported cars are. They are just great. Shouldn’t require advertising.

    So by your logic, if a product is good, it doesn’t need to be advertised? You should tell that to the domestic manufacturers — starting with GM. They’ll be happy to know they can stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on marketing.

    I’m from Michigan, where everyone I know used to buy American. Many of them no longer do. And in every case, multiple bad experiences with American vehicles convinced them to look at other manufacturers, especially Honda and Toyota — which, in most cases, provided them with superior vehicles and ownership experiences.

    Those wily Orientals didn’t seduce them away from American cars with clever ads — American manufacturers drove them away (pun intended?) by providing an inferior product.

    This only ran in LA but the So cal Honda Dealers spot with QB Sanchez throwing “money balls” to 3 local High School coaches was funny and positive and raised $241,000 for the schools!

    OK, let me add one more comment from a “grouchy old man”: Weren’t any of you young’uns offended by the “Toyota Tacoma: Dareful Handle” spot? I thought you were all tree huggers, opposed to desecration of our wildlife areas and unnecessary use of fossil fuels? That commercial just struck me as politically incorrect.

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