Something was missing at the 2010 Super Bowl. No, it wasn’t the Colts’ defense. It was car ads.
Of course, with the Hyundai's name all over the pregame show, you may not have thought that car commercials were missing. But after a year of dismal sales, you’d think car makers would have hopped on the biggest advertising event of the year.
You’d be wrong. While local affiliates showed some car ads, only five car companies ran national ads during the big game. With such a shallow field, it wasn’t tough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here’s a rundown of the best and worst car commercials from the 2010 Super Bowl.
Number Six: Dodge’s "Man’s Last Stand"
Before bankruptcy, bailout and mergers with Fiat, the Dodge Charger was supposed to sell itself. When it debuted, the Charger was a throwback to what it meant to be a muscle car: something practical enough for a family, but powerful enough for the drag strip. While the 2010 (or 2009, for that matter) Charger is nothing new, for some reason Dodge felt the need to run a Super Bowl touting it as the cure for all that ails modern manhood. Yawn. Check out the Dodge commercial.
Number Five: Volkswagen’s "Punch Dub"
Punch Buggy is perhaps the greatest car game ever invented. It’s a free ticket for hauling off and slugging your sister, so it’s no surprise that VW resurrected the game for its Super Bowl ad, which showed people fiendishly delighting in punching those around them as VWs passed by.
While the ad was fun, it operated with a revised list of punch buggy rules where any VW qualifies for a punch and seemed to imply that we should all be happy that VW’s model list is longer -- because we’ll all get punched more. Um, yay? Check out the VW Punch Dub commercial
Number Four: Kia’s "Toy Hangover"
With this slick ad that showed a bunch of toys borrowing the family SUV for a night on the town, Kia effectively marketed the Sorento as a family SUV – without having to shout it from the rooftops. After all, if a sock monkey and Muno can have a good time in a Kia, why couldn’t Mom and Dad? Check out Kia’s Toy Hangover commercial.
Number Three: Audi’s "Green Police"
Audi’s Super Bowl ad was one that generated almost as much controversy as Tim Tebow’s, but like the Heisman winner’s, Audi’s “Green Police” spot (which used a fictitious environmental police force that unfortunately has the same name as a Nazi police unit) ended up being fairly tame. Still, with a catchy song and a wry look at where eco consciousness can take us -- and how a new Audi A3 TDI can keep you going fast while you’re going green -- the spot should help put Audi on more people’s shopping lists. Check out Audi’s Green Police commercial.
Number Two: Hyundai’s Brett Favre Ad
Yes, we know Hyundai ran a bunch of commercials during the Super Bowl, but only one was really worth mentioning: the one that showed a locker-room interview with Brett Favre after he’s won the 2020 NFL MVP award. The ad is clever (so are the outtakes you can watch online), poking gentle fun at Favre while also pointing out that if you bought a new Hyundai during the 2010 Super Bowl, its warranty could still be good during the 2020 game. Check out the Hyundai Brett Favre commercial.
Number One: Subaru’s "Dog Tested"
Sure, we said only five companies ran Super Bowl commercials, but to get to the best car ad from Super Bowl weekend, you had to flip over to the other big game: Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. The pint-sized canine gridiron is in its sixth year, and Subaru used the opportunity (and cheaper ad rates) to target dog owners with a clever series of commercials that showed dogs using the Subaru Forester like any human would: going to the drive-through, arguing over radio stations, having a fire drill and losing out on parking spots to cats. The ads worked because Subaru knows its target customers are outdoorsy families who won’t want to leave the family pooch behind. Check out the whole series of Subaru Dog Tested commercials.