2023 Super Bowl Car Ads: Electric Cars, Stars and Tongue-in-Cheek Humor

Gm 2023 Super Bowl Ad Features Electric Cars Featured Photo

Our favorite part of the game was a bit thin on funny, inspiring, desire-enducing car craft.

Super Bowl LVII was a disappointment. And not just to Eagles fans, who were possibly feeling a bit confident going into half time and then spent the rest of the game on the edge of their seats. 

The ads were good, but not great. And for me, it was the small number of car ads. 

While yes, this is the most expensive advertising forum on earth, and no, I don’t want to think that the cost of a car comes with a built-in Super Bowl tax, I still enjoy seeing what some of the brightest minds in marketing come up with. 

Isn’t the Super Bowl the Best Way to Advertise a Car?

And, actually, for the number people watching the game, including a large number of women who are not typically in front of sporting events, the Super Bowl can be an efficient way to advertise. Add to that the idea that a brand can launch a campaign and keep it going through continued advertising and creating a cultural moment (Smaht pahk, anyone?) and it often makes sense. Though apparently not this year for belt-tightening, recession wary car makers.

So, I while I was hoping there would be more automotive ads, I was glad for the brands that brought support to the game in memorable ways. 

Super Bowl LVII’s Car Ads

General Motors: Why Not an EV?

For the all-encompassing big game, General Motors took an overall approach, showcasing all its electric brands with the firepower of Will Ferrell who streamed his way through popular entertainment, escaping each harrowing scene in an electric vehicle from GM. 

Here’s what it’s really like to get away in a Hummer EV and to drive a Chevy Bolt.

Jeep 4xe Boogie Woogie Woogie

Jeep came to the game in a big way: Not just with an ad that plays up the silent yet fun nature of the brand’s 4xe plug-in hybrid 4x4s that let you silently boogie woogie woogie through nature, but in sponsorship of the halftime show.

We LOVE the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe for its quiet mastery of the off road, and the Wrangler 4xe for its quiet top-down capability that allows you to be closer to nature.

Kia Telluride #BinkyDad

And then, there was the Kia #BinkyDad ad, also a high-production number focused on the Telluride X-Pro line. This one caught the attention of every parent, ever, who left home without a critical piece of kid equipment and either went back to get it or suffered the consequences. If you haven’t seen this, I won’t give away the ending; you’ll have to watch.

We tried out the Kia Telluride X-Pro and kind of agree, it’ll handle off-pavement detours just fine. Maybe even the steps into the stadium and the artificial turf.  

RAM 1500 REV Electric Pickup Truck: Premature Electrification

This one definitely got my attention. As it unfolded, I thought, this an ad arguing against electric cars? With tongue brilliantly planted in cheek about the anxiety and frustration of charging an EV, RAM introduced the first Evolution pickup truck, the RAM 1500 REV, which it promises will go the distance and deliver on all we’ve come to know these trucks can do. 

The RAM 1500 REV won’t be out until later this year, but we got a look at it at CES and the Chicago Auto Show; this is what this futuristic truck is all about. 

The Dawn Project: Disturbing, but Necessary?

And then, there was this ad that appeared in only selected markets, including Washington, DC, Austin, Tallahassee, Albany, Sacramento and Atlanta. In Austin we saw it twice (once was enough, BTW). The spot is a disturbing montage of self-driving video showing a Tesla, with the brand’s logo in the upper left corner, changing lanes, speeding past a stopped school bus, and most horrifyingly, mowing down mechanical child-sized dummy and a stroller, both typical equipment on safety test tracks. Clearly, the Dawn Project wants Tesla’s Full Self Driving mode outlawed — the ad markets are all capital cities— and it made a startling argument. Not exactly the type of ad I hope an expect to see on the Super Bowl, but memorable, nonetheless. 

And the Rest of the Game?

Well, hm. You got me there. Most ads were celebrity-filled cliché rehashes, or a spin on an old idea. They left me wondering if corporate America is so flush with inflation-fueled cash that they need to spend lavishly on star power to sell an overpriced snack. 

I guess the low number of auto ads at least makes me feel better that automakers are being cautious about how they spend these days. And, leaving me with hope that we’ll see more Will Farrell, dancing Jeeps, #BinkyDads and clever double entendres about electric trucks.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss