Category Archives: Automotive Industry

Quick Reaction: 2nd Half Automotive Super Bowl XLIX Ads

Earlier, I posted my quick reactions to the 1st half Super Bowl automotive spots, and here’s my reactions to the 2nd half ones:

Toyota “Bold Dad”

Toyota has got to be so frustrated that Nissan ran such a similar spot before they got to run theirs. Just like with their other spot, I think the “bold” thing is a lame stretch for Toyota and this one doesn’t do it for me either.

Lexus “Let’s Play”

Lexus is doing the same thing as Toyota right now – trying to shed their boring, stodgy image and get some of that BMW excitement image. I think Lexus is doing a better job of it, both from an advertising standpoint and the product that backs it up. Based on the reviews I’ve read, this Lexus delivers the goods, and I think the ad does too – lots of fun.

Dodge “100th Birthday”

I am very, very surprised they decided to run this almost-one-year-old spot again, not because it isn’t good, but because it’s not new. I love it though, as I said back in May. I think it’s far better than the Dodge Brothers spots they’ve been running for months, which try to make it sound like the first Dodges were sports cars or something (they weren’t). Those spots being so prevalent makes me even more surprised they went back to this one. Well done Dodge.

Kia “Getaway”

Does Kia realize it’s been over 15 years since Pierce Brosnan was James Bond? I wonder if they tried to get Daniel Craig to do this one and he turned them down. That new Sorento is beautiful, but this spot just felt forced and a “me too” celebrity spot, which this game has been full of.

Jeep “Beautiful Lands”

A visually beautiful spot taking the Jeep brand all over the world, though I’m not sure Americans really get/appreciate showing China and other markets FCA is trying to market the Jeep brand in. Like so many (mis)uses of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Martina McBride’s “Independence Day”, the use of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is not without irony, as pointed out by my friend John:

  More points to FCA for this charitable tie-in too though:

Most shocking to me, now that we’ve seen three FCA spots, and I think they only purchased three, is that none were for the Chrysler brand after they supported it consistently the past few games.

Mercedes-Benz “Fable”
I like that there are accompanying videos featuring Jerry Rice, Mike & Mike and more for this spot, but this felt way too childish to appeal to somebody cross shopping the SLS with the Jag F-Type, Dodge Viper, Corvette Z06, Aston Vantage, etc.

Overall a decent year for ads. Once again, the top automotive spots were done by Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. Kudos to their team and their agencies – hopefully they get $25M+ in value, as they spent at least that on the space + production costs.

Quick Reaction: 1st Half Automotive Super Bowl XLIX Ads

The first half of Super Bowl XLIX featured some great ads (esurance’s Walter White one) and some not-so-great ones (the Nationwide “Boy” (dead kid) ad. A lot of the biggest brands in automotive were here, though Ford wasn’t. They typically don’t invest in obscenely expensive Super Bowl ads, but I’m surprised they didn’t this year with their two most iconic products (Mustang and F-150) both all-new. Anyway, here’s my quick reactions to the auto industry ones:

Chevrolet  Colorado “Blackout”

I’d derided Chevy for overrunning the Colorado’s launch spot that used AC/DC’s “Back in Black” to basically say you’re less of a man if you drive a Civic, which they backed up with the silly focus group of women spot. However, they redeemed themselves with this one that got a ton of attention. I thought it was pretty weak to start but the hugely positive reaction on Twitter changed my mind.

BMW “Newfangled Idea”

Definitely my favorite ad of all so far – using that infamous 1994 Bryant Gumbel/Katie  Couric clip and getting them both to be in the spot was brilliant, and the message was spot-on for the i3 car and the BMW brand. Loved it.

Fiat “Blue Pill”

This one was fun, though I loathe Fiat following the same product strategy as Mini (over-extending their brand with too many versions of the core model). The spot itself was good though, even if parents may end up having to explain away blue pills to their kids.

Nissan “With Dad”

From a production value standpoint, I loved this spot, especially that it utilized Nissan’s racing investment as an integral part, which doesn’t usually happen in mainstream spots. But, for being 90 seconds long, I wasn’t sold on what the point of the whole thing was.
Dan Bedore of Nissan PR was nice enough to give me a summary of it though:

I guess I see that’s what their intent was, but don’t think they showed the payoff well enough, considering they had 90 seconds to get there. A hug in a new Maxima doesn’t fix Dad being gone so much.

Toyota “How Great I Am”
Not a huge fan of brands using handicapped people/kids to try and make a tie to their brands, though Microsoft’s effort was far better than Toyota’s, personally. Toyota seems to have listened far too much to enthusiast automotive journalists forever calling the Camry boring, so they’ve decided that the Camry is now a bold, exciting vehicle, as demonstrated by this spot, the one where a guy takes a bride away from her own wedding in a Camry, etc. But why, Toyota? Own being the ultra-reliable, comfortable, driving appliance that the Camry is. You destroyed every other model in the segment in sales again in ’14, which makes the “look at us, we’re exciting now!” campaign just seem silly to me.

Weather Tech “America at Work”

It was kind of refreshing to see a brand just try and sell stuff with their spot, rather than reach with some far-fetched story or half-assed tie in with a higher morality/purpose type spot. Weather Tech is great product, made in America and they own their segment. Great reminder to built top-of-mind, though I might have gone down the “terrible winter weather means you should protect your car’s interior” road instead, given that it’s February.

Lexus NX “Make Some Noise”

Completely mediocre and unmemorable. The NX looks so much like the RX that I’m not sure it didn’t just confuse anybody watching. I’m a gearhead and close follower of the industry and I don’t even know for sure the difference.


So, what did you think? My thoughts on the 2nd half automotive ads from Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus were posted after the game.

Follow-Up – Ford Flex Rental Review

I did a pretty comprehensive review of the Ford Flex I rented back in September, but I rented one again this past weekend for an epic football road trip so thought I’d post some more thoughts about the car that came to mind over this much-longer trip.

My wife and I spent about 20 hours in the Flex over a four day weekend, driving about 1,400 miles. We were joined by my brother-in-law and his friend for about 1,000 of those miles, as we all went to Wisconsin for the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska football game on Saturday in Madison, followed by the Packers vs. Eagles game on Sunday in Green Bay.
2014-11-15 14.37.222014-11-16 15.16.43The weekend was a cold one, with high temperatures never getting past 30 degrees and some snowfall too, so a great chance to try the Flex in a variety of conditions.

Here’s some additional thoughts:

  • Over the 1,400 or so miles, we averaged 21.3 MPG. That number was creeping above 22 until our drive home from southwestern Wisconsin to northwest Missouri, most of which was straight into a 20+ MPH wind that just killed the mileage. I’m happy with this number though, as we had the cargo area packed and four passengers in the Flex, with the heated seats and defrosters running most of the time.
  • The stock Kumho all-season tires were less than stellar. With only 7,000 miles on the car, they weren’t worn out. However, they slipped a lot in only 2″ of snow and the car lost all forward momentum on a 14% grade hill, to the point where we had to have two people pushing to make it up. It simply confirmed to me that, when I buy a Flex, I will buy winter tires for it, regardless of whether I get an AWD one or not.
  • I love having remote start. So handy in cold weather.
  • The 2nd row bench seat allows either side to recline individually – very handy and makes it less compelling to go with the captain’s chairs in the 2nd row versus the bench seat, since you lose seating capacity in doing that.
  • You can definitely fit a lot of cargo in it, but nothing like the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country minivan that also made the trip to Green Bay with a group of our friends in it. The floor storage in that thing is pretty phenomenal, as is the overall storage. The Flex is only 1″ shorter in overall length than the Town & Country, yet the Chrysler offers 19% more cargo capacity behind the 1st row than the Acadia (the previous post’s cargo leader) and 42% more than the Flex. It’s not even close and that amazes me, having driven/ridden in both – I can’t figure out where the Flex is so much less efficient with space than the Town & Country. Here’s the numbers (all in cubic feet):
Model Behind 1st Row Behind 2nd Row Behind 3rd Row
Flex 83.2 43.2 20
Town & Country 143.8 83.3 33
Acadia 116.1 70.1 24.1


  • MyFordTouch worked seamlessly all weekend – I continue to enjoy that system, especially the gauge pod information that can be switched out and reviewed using the steering wheel controls. The only negative is that the voice recognition software in it seems to be worse at recognizing music artists/song names than my Mustang’s base, 3-years-older Sync system. Can’t figure that one out.
  • Between the power seat, power-adjustable pedals, and tilt+telescoping steering wheel, anybody can get comfortable driving it, as evidenced by my 5’4″ wife and I both driving it very comfortably this weekend. Love that we can both store our settings with the memory seats too.

I still love the Flex and my wife still likes the idea of buying one when we need a kid-mobile. I am disappointed how much less efficient it is with interior space than traditional minivans though; I’d hoped it wouldn’t be such a drastic gap. However, many people, such as my wife, won’t ever drive a minivan and this remains my favorite alternative for moving lots of people and stuff.