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Landmark Super Bowl Car Commercials of Past Years

Photo Credit: FCA US

In a matter of hours, a host of new, elaborate commercials will air during one of the most-watched annual events on the globe. For Super Bowl XLIX (the 2015 edition of the football classic), 30-second spots selling for 4.5-million dollars will be competing for our attention with snappy visuals and celebrities.

The following are some past automotive advertisements illustrating to how companies attempted to lure motorists in the past:

1969: Chrysler Scuba Diver

In 1969, the Super Bowl was being held for only its third time. The big game was beginning to attract the attention needed to elevate American professional football to a thriving enterprise. However, it would wouldn't be until the mid-1980s when a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl would start selling for over a million dollars. Understandably, most ads televised during the game were not massive productions. 15 years before Apple reinvented the way companies advertised during the Super Bowl, this Chrysler commercial does score points for its highly-artistic nature.

2002: Cadillac CTS- 'Break Through'

Cadillac entered the 21st century as a luxury car brand many perceived as tired and poorly-equipped to compete on the world stage of premium vehicles. For what was Cadillac's 100th anniversary, an all-new direction for the company was charted with a new mid-sized sedan called the CTS. For the 2002 Super Bowl, Cadillac inspiration to "Break Through" was a rallying cry for the brand set to Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll". The ad above was one of three spots Cadillac acquired as part of an estimated 10 million dollar Super Bowl promotion. The voice of CSI:NY lead actor Gary Sinise is also heard in this commercial.

2011: Mercedes-Benz- 125 Years of Innovation

Many regard the Super Bowl as a celebration. For football fans, it's the biggest annual game of the season deciding what team is truly supreme for the year. However, a large quantity of viewers of the Super Bowl have probably never watched an NFL game this 2015 season. For this reason, this event means something different to everyone.

For Mercedes-Benz in 2011, Super Bowl XLVI coincided with the 115th anniversary of the company Karl Benz's founded that ultimately grew into a prestigious world brand. This commercial promoting Mercedes-Benz's latest vehicles contained historical members of the star brand making cameo appearances.

2011: Chrysler- "Born on Fire"

After an bankruptcy and government bailout in 2009, many wrote off Chrysler as a viable player in the automobile sector. Largely considered the third-place among the 'American Three' auto companies, the company did not immediately emerge from their financial fallout with a whole crop of new products like General Motors did. Nonetheless, Chrysler wanted the world to know it has survived and is unafraid to tell send us that message.

More than a car commercial, Chrysler brand's 2011 Super Bowl ad called "Born of Fire" backed by rapper Eminem and the beat for "Lose Yourself" defined itself with their Detroit roots. Speaking out defiantly against critics, narrator Kevin Yon delivered phrases like "the hottest fires makes the hardest steel" in the context that many Americans who have weathered a hard economic recession could identify. The Super Bowl ad was a surprise to many for its edge and storytelling. This award-winning commercial campaign was followed-up the next year with the Clint Eastwood-narrated "Halftime In America" spot.

2014: Chevrolet Silverado- Life

Some Super Bowl ads transcends the attempt of just selling products and sometimes reaches out to cherish the things we can't buy. The commercial above entitled "Life" captured a more sensitive, human nature during a period of time where so much passion and devotion is placed in a game.

Created to honor 2014 World Cancer Day, the Chevrolet Silverado carried two real-life cancer survivors across a tundra-like landscape. The song in playing in the commercial promoting the fight against cancer is “Don’t Leave” performed by Ane Brun.

2010: Audi- Green Police

Audi has become a staple part of Super Bowl commercial breaks in recent years. Last year, there was the ad surrounding the freakish crossbred 'Doberhuahua' dog to promote the new Audi A3. Vampires and a prom were also themes behind recent Audi commercials for the Super Bowl.

For 2010, Audi launched an ad Super Bowl campaign debuting their newest A3 TDI Clean Diesel for the North American market showing how their car fits in a world of extreme environmentalism governed by the 'Green Police'. A number of hilarious scenarios of people being confronted by the Green Police featured a soundtrack using a slightly-modified version of Cheap Trick's 'Dream Police'. Coupled with a series of advertisements (including some web-based PSAs with the Green Police), Audi's Super Bowl promotion seemed to have celebrated and mocked the green movement at the same time.

2011- Volkswagen Passat- The Force

There is a number of ways car companies could market their products during the Super Bowl. The Chrysler "Born on Fire" debuting during the 2011 game captured raw passion and fighting spirit. The same year, Volkswagen sided with using humour as a popular ingredient for their ad promoting the new Passat.

Nodding to the dark side, a budding Darth Vader scoured his house searching for an object that relays his confidence in the mastery of 'The Force'. The young Dark Lord of the Sith finally approaches a new Volkswagen Passat that seemingly activated as a result of his influence.

1983: Ford Mustang Convertible- She's Back

The Super Bowl can often be the point in time where automakers show off their newest and greatest products outside of an auto show environment.

A sight not seen on a Ford dealership lot since Super Bowl VII, a soft-top version of the Mustang was the subject of this 1983 commercial. Back after nine years, the Ford Mustang Convertible return was unveiled in a rather simple commercial. Interesting to take note of the 11.9 percent annual interest rate for financing in 1983 (voice announced by the late Casey Kasem).

1983: Chrysler New Yorker

From 1976 to 1983, Chrysler Corporation contracted the services of the actor who originally portrayed Star Trek villain Khan Noonien Singh, Mexican born actor Ricardo Montalbán, as the voice and face for their television commercials. A versatile and distinct personality also seen in the TV show Fantasy Island and the movie Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Montalbán's connection to Chrysler would best be remembered for promoting "..soft Corinthian leather" on the Cordoba. In the ad spot above, Ricardo Montalbán's exotic voice is joined by Chrysler's Electronic Voice Alert system on the 1983 New Yorker. 

2014: Toyota Highlander: Muppets and Terry Crews

31 years after Ricardo Montalbán, this latest celebrity-driven Super Bowl commercial placed former NFL player turned actor with the famous troupe the Muppets for the Toyota Highlander. Simply a fun, zany ad with the crossover vehicle placed at the center, the 2014 commercial subtly references the interior space of the seven-passenger interior as Crews and the Muppet band sings. Measured as the world's largest automaker, Toyota is only one of many companies who can't ignore the gigantic North American or global audience of 'The Big Game'.


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