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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    You care enough to have a “who cares” list….As a jailhouse lawyer I endorse VW’s fine print: “If you are not living in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s do not attempt”. Not having outgrown the 80’s that’s like giving me permission!

    As someone who has owned or leased nearly a dozen VWs — and no longer does — I have to agree. In the US, Volkswagen has been living off its declining reputation for decades.

    i liked the reece’s commercial in the link further up. i also liked the kawasaki/mullet commercial more than the bmw ad. i didn’t know the final score let alone who played in this year’s sb game. i lost almost all interest in pro sports since the strikes in the early 1980s. college sports? it’s essentially big business. hey, all of this is nothing more than my opinion. if you enjoy any or all of it, power to ya.

    As an owner of a ’68 Beetle the VW commercial tugged at my heart but also made me sad. The fact that they have to resort to bringing up their successes from 50+ years ago to get people to even look at a modern VW kinda speaks volumes of how uninspiring and uncool their products have become.

    None of the above. I didn’t watch the game at all, football is down at the bottom of the list along with EVs as a waste of time. However, a few days ago a friend sent me the link to the forthcoming VW ad. Schmaltz city. It stopped being interesting when the got to that red New Beetle. EV bus…it’s a sucker’s bet.

    The only ad for a car that I even realized was an ad for a car was the VW Beetle one. The best ad by far was State Farm’s with Arnold and Danny.

    The Canadian commercial’s should have had how not to have your vehicle ripped off tutorial’s. Even the Federal Justice Minister has had their government vehicle stolen three times since 2019.

    Best commercial was local. Archery shop featured a bow hunter buying new bow and then being introduced to the fat tire electric off/on road bike. He buys the bow and the bike.

    Frankly the adds were mostly boring. The Kawasaki add was funny and the add with Arnold making fun of his pronunciation of Neighbor was really funny. The VW add was sad, it was a reminder of how VW’s used to be fun. I don’t find them anything but boring today.

    Interesting. If you daily drove a Beetle back in the day, “fun” wasn’t really the word that would come to mind. “Agricultural”? Sure. “Cold” (in winter)? Check. “Hot” (in summer)? Yup. Rose colored glasses…

    I miss the true North American manufacturers, however I oarticularly enjoyed the Honda Ridgeline ad.. I thought it would be in your rundown here… Ahh well !!

    I was enjoying the nostalgic VW commercial… until just before the new bus reveal.
    I guess I’m not considered a potential customer… not half of a lesbian couple kissing on my wedding day, nor able to use an EV.

    Dareful handle? What? It’ real name is the “Oh, sh*t handle”. “cause that’s what you’re saying as you grab for it….

    I’ve always loved Neil Diamond and that has always been one of my favorite songs of his. Coupled that with the fact I owned a blue ’67 bug in high school and later a blue ’74 bug, I loved this commercial. Hearing him sing throughout it gave me goosebumps. I actually screamed at the TV when I heard the opening notes of the song.

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