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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    I did not realize that the Christopher Walken ad was for a car until the last 8 seconds. By then I did not care about the brand. I am still wondering what made the new Tacoma more powerful.

    “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.” Actually, it was very good timing, since it ensured that perhaps the largest number of people would see it. A similar situation was the “heroin overdose” ad of several years ago, which certainly got its message across to large numbers, also. Sadly, that situation has not gotten much better (probably worse), but maybe the Tesla arrogance on the “self-driving” will at last be widely recognized, and dealt with as necessary.

    I guess I must live under a rock cuz who the f**k is Christopher Walken and my wife has always called that handle the oh s**t bar wish they had them in vettes would be a hell of a lot easier to get in and out !

    My dad and mom went through the war in GB before emigrating. He disliked the Germans so I was surprised he bought a VW 1500 back in ‘64. It was a very good car in many ways except for the six volt system. Finally my sisters boyfriend rolled it over. He never bought another.. GM was his car from then on.

    What happened to the Budweiser Clydesdales. Those commercials never “missed”. They were always funny and made a point. And, yes, Clydes aren’t cars but, damn, they’re great to be around!!

    Arnold and Danny’s State Farm ad was the best. Nice to see the Clydesdales, though older ads were much better. Enjoyed the VW ad even though I would never own one. The Kia ad appealed to me as a grandfather, but again would not own one. Thought the BMW, Toyota and Kawasaki ads were a total waste of time. Laughed at the Couch Potatoes. Ah, well, maybe next year’s will be better – one can only hope.

    The Kawasaki Mullets ad made me laugh! I also liked the flying football players who acted like a flock of birds. The Pluto couch potatoe piece was creative but actually gave a rather negative message (turning its viewers into blobs with so much programming).

    Category: entertainment
    Topic: Super Bowl Car-related ads.
    Paraphrase of responses:
    I liked the ____ ad. (A tie between VW, Kawasaki, and BMW for me.)
    Ads not in the article were better.
    Germany bad.
    EV’s bad.
    I didn’t watch the game or the ads (but had to comment anyway).
    Puppy Bowl good.
    “This article may set the record for comments from grumpy old men.” – Regardless of topic, this astute assessment is applicable to more and more Hagerty comment sections. I can see why young people are reluctant to engage the collector car community.

    I am not grumpy! Define “young”. There is always someone younger than you! Face it. Maybe your attitude makes us not want you in the collector car community.

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