Super Bowl commercials have almost become as popular as the Super Bowl itself. This year we began to rank the Best and Worst Car Commercials From Sunday’s Big Game. We are very impatient and rather than waiting until the season is over, why not make a list of the greatest commercials of all time? Our list may be a little different than some, as we only allowed for each manufacturer to make our list once. There were some that possibly could have made the list several times. Some may see this as unfair, but it’s OUR list, so we can do what we want with it. Feel free to weigh in with comments if you think we missed any great ones, or to tell us what your list would be.
10. Kia – “Soul Hamster” (2010)
- This commercial somehow turned a small rodent animal into a cool and hip creature. Even Master Splinter, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, isn’t quite as fun as these little guys. Some may question why this made our list, but if you actually watch the entire commercial you will completely understand. Once that song gets in your head, it’s impossible to get out; even when coming up with a Top 10 list.
9. Ferrari/Shell – “Made to Move” (2007)
- Ferrari teamed up with Shell to bring this amazing commercial to life. The partnership between the two brands goes back seven decades, as Ferrari uses and tests high performance lubricants in their racing vehicles. This is a partnership that Shell claims has existed since the very first Ferrari drove out of the factory. When you think about partnership these two likely have, the commercial doesn’t seem so far from reality; well maybe not.
8. BMW – “Land Speed Record” (1998)
- This commercial has a surprise ending you would expect from a M. Night Shyamalan film. The feature car is ripping through the desert in to break the land speed record. Once the parachute brings the racer to a stop, you see that the BMW was following along the side to film the record attempt. The subtle approach that BMW takes to show there M5 is fast, makes this commercial so memorable.
7. Chevrolet – “Camaro Volcano” (1966)
- This is more like a feature film rather than a commercial spot. This ad is for the Chevy Camaro SS, which came out just two years after the Ford Mustang. Chevy looked to directly compete with Ford and this commercial locked it’s sight on the competition. This was not only Chevy’s introduction of the Camaro, but Chevy’s very first commercial they aired on television. Since then, they have gone on to make some amazing commercials, but none more memorable for us than the original.
6. Audi – “What Do You Want” (2006)
- The commercial is simple in nature and doesn’t have the “big budget feel” like many of the others that top our list. The message is simple and not uncommon from what other commercials try to portray to consumers. The difference is how they demonstrated Audi as having all of the things people look in vehicles, by using their logo. The commercial takes familiar key designs for 4 of the biggest European car manufacturers and they all come together to form the Audi logo. Genius isn’t a word we throw around lightly, but this ad certainly is deserving of the word.
5. Jeep – “Snow Covered” (1994)
- Humor is often very hard to incorporate into car commercials for some reason. Many advertisers have failed in the past in an attempt to do something consumers haven’t seen before, as well as interject a little humor. This commercial does that very well. This plays off of a familiar sight of Bugs Bunny digging around in the dirt but ends with it showing the Jeep turning a corner on a snow covered road at a stop sign.
4. Honda – “The Cog” (2003)
- Here is another commercial that has as much action and thrills as a full length film. In 2003, Honda came out with this gem to introduce the redesigned Accord. The entire project had a budget of £1 million (or roughly $1.67million at today’s exchange rate). American’s may not recognize this immediately as it was originally intended to run in England. Much like anything that blows up in popularity across the pond (The Spice Girls, Gordon Ramsey, The Beatles, David Beckham, etc), this commercial quickly was a sensation in America as well.
3. Volkswagen – “The Force” (2011)
- If we decided our list purely based on YouTube views, this commercial would easily be #1. Volkswagen has a long history of producing a stand out Super Bowl commercial every year. This one was easily the most memorable throughout the years and played off of pop-culture and America’s love for Star Wars. No matter who your loyalties for car brand belong to, everyone can come together and appreciate this commercial from Volkswagen.
2. Chrysler – “Born of Fire” (2011)
- Detroit and the rest of Michigan were once the authority of car manufacturing in America. The now troubled city has seen many manufacturers shut down plants completely or move then to other locations. Rapper Eminem leads this moving commercial is a way that inspires not only the city of Detroit and the rest of America. It works to return the respect for the American made vehicle and prove that Detroit is still very much alive in the automotive industry. Chrysler did a series of these for a few years that aired during the Super Bowl, but none more moving than this one.
1. Nissan – “Toys” (1990)
- Typical car commercials like to show the car racing around to demonstrate the handling and attractiveness of the vehicle. Not this one. Instead, this commercial starts off feeling like a Barbie commercial but morphs into car commercial gold. This ad doesn’t mention Barbie, Ken or G.I. Joe, but everyone who watched this commercial immediately could make that association. That ultimately was the reason why Nissan was sued by Mattel for the ad campaign that also included this follow-up commercial.