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The top five Super Bowl car ads of all-time

Wheels.ca editor Paul Choi picks his most memorable Super Bowl car ads of all-time.

Published January 25, 2011
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Millions of advertising dollars are spent every year to secure seconds of air time at the Super Bowl, and this year won’t be an exception.


As the New York Giants and the New England Patriots take to the field for Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, viewers around the world are being counted on to sit through an onslaught of commercials – some mundane, some controversial, all of them ridiculously expensive.


But if you find your eyes glazing over in front of the TV, nobody can really blame you. Among the hundreds of Super Bowl commercials that have aired over the decades, only a few can truly be called memorable.


And some of those ads happened to involve cars. We take a look back at some of them and pick our favourites. Take a look and let us know if you agree.


Volkswagen Punch Dub (2010, Super Bowl 44)




Volkswagen tried to revive the old Punch Buggy game – in which you slug a friend in the arm every time you see a VW – with this effective 2010 commercial. The question is: Do people still play this?


In the ad, comedian Tracy Morgan absorbs a punch delivered by Stevie Wonder as they make surprise appearances at the end of the spot. And a gratuitous – but chuckle-inducing – groin punch is added into the mix to spice things up.


Nissan Twin Turbo 300ZX (1991, Super Bowl 24)




One of Nissan’s most popular commercials, this one delivered a simple message – its car is really, really fast.


Even if it’s set in a dream, seeing that Twin Turbo outduel a race car and a jet must have impressed people back in 1991, because it still looks impressive today.


There’s something quietly cool and artistic about this ad – it oozes that early ‘90s car ad charm.


“They can’t catch me.”


Kia's 2010 Big Game (2010, Super Bowl 44)




While it didn’t quite lift the brand, Kia’s first Super Bowl spot definitely was a fun commercial.


It featured a group of dolls come to life, enjoying a crazy road trip to Las Vegas Hangover style – all in a Kia Sorento.


It was hard to make the connection between Kia and Vegas, but the wild dolls did manage to make us smile.


Audi R8 Godfather Commercial (2008, Super Bowl 42)




Audi, ever the slayer of “old luxury”, spoofed a classic scene from The Godfather in this spot from 2008 for the R8.


In the ad, a man wakes up to find the front of his decapitated luxury car in his bed, presumably hacked up by the kind folks at Audi, in a send-up of the dead horse scene from the classic 1972 movie.


Audi continues to tout its “new luxury” lineup this year, denigrating your dad’s old luxury brands in the process.


Nissan Maxima Commercial (1997, Super Bowl 31)




Another effective Nissan commercial tickled the funny bone by spoofing Top Gun and highlighting the one beef all car owners can relate to: bird droppings.


In the ad, pigeons take aim at a shiny new Maxima to the tune of “Danger Zone” while the car expertly dodges the white bombs falling from the sky. What more can you ask for in a car ad?


It was hilarious then (for an ad, anyway), and it’s still pretty funny today.

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