The television has been dusted, the batteries in the remote have been changed, and the Rotel is bubbling quietly in a crock pot: the Super Bowl is here, featuring Queen Latifah, an opening-seconds safety, and Audi apparently losing its mind on Snapchat.
Of course, football fans aren't the only folks who've geared up for today's game. Advertising enthusiasts are paying attention, too, noting who scores big and who's just wasted $4 million on a ho-hum, 30-second clip. If you count yourself in that number, get a head start on the hullaballoo with this roundup of Super Bowl commercials from car companies.
We covered this ad for the 2015 Audi A3 a couple of days ago, giving it a relatively big thumbs-up. It's clever, it's conceptually on-point, and the creative team at Venables Bell got Sarah McLachlan to poke fun at herself. That's three big ol' wins in our book. Expect to see it early in the game's third quarter.
Technically, it's a commercial for the 2015 Silverado, but really, it's about cow sex. If that's your thing, tune in during the first quarter.
Chevrolet has another ad scheduled for the first quarter of the game, but the company chose not to pre-release it. Like movies that refuse to offer advance screenings for critics, that could mean the spot is less-than-compelling, or it could be gut-wrenchingly brilliant. We'll just have to wait and see.
CHRYSLER: Something with Bob Dylan
Over the past couple of years, Chrysler has cast older, conservative white guys in its Super Bowl commercials (e.g. Clint Eastwood, Paul Harvey). This year, in a bold break from tradition, the automaker has apparently tapped Bob Dylan for its game-day spot, though Chrysler remains typically tight-lipped about the accuracy of that rumor. Marchionne & Co. haven't even said when the spot will air or who's created it. If we were the betting type, we'd put most of our chips on the halftime slot, but we can't even play pachinko, so what do we know?
UPDATE: It's surprisingly comprehensible. "Let Asia build your phone...we'll build your car."
FORD: As-yet unaired clip for the Ford Fusion
Ford is being old-school by keeping its game-day commercial under wraps until Sunday. However, it's being new-school by dropping teasers for the ad all over YouTube. Here's the most recent, featuring James Franco, Rob Riggle references, and a tiger. Are you intrigued? Honestly, it's okay if you're not.
HYUNDAI: "Nice" and "Dad's Sixth Sense"
Hyundai has been gunning hard for American consumers in recent years, and its annual advertising strategy always includes a Super Bowl clip or two. (Even during the Great Recession, the South Korean automaker ponied up, while most car companies sat on the sidelines.) Hyundai has typically purchased multiple spots throughout the pre-game, post-game, and game-game broadcast, but this year, it appears the automaker has scaled back to two. No word on exactly when they'll air.
"Nice" is a commercial for the 2014 Hyundai Elantra, starring The Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki, with a backseat cameo by Richard Lewis. (Remember him? No? Lucky you.) As you'll see, Galecki spends most of the ad hitting on a fellow Elantra driver, but she gives him zero play. The clip isn't especially memorable, but unlike Kia, memorable commercials aren't really Hyundai's forte.
"Dad's Sixth Sense" features the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, and thankfully, it's a bit better. The gist is that the Genesis, with its collision avoidance and automated braking systems, is a lot like your dad, who always seemed to know when you were about to hurt yourself and came quickly to the rescue. It's quiet, but touching in its own way. Or maybe we're just softies.
For the first time in Super Bowl history, Jaguar has bought airtime during the big game. Playing up the brand's English credentials, "Rendezvous" spends most of its 60 seconds talking about the awesomely suave, dastardly evil ways of the Brits. (We'll set aside for now the fact that Jaguar is owned by Indian motor company Tata.) That, too, is appropriate, since the commercial features the slick badassery of the F-Type Coupe.
The ad isn't especially clever -- we would've gone with a football vs. soccer theme ourselves, even though Jaguar isn't known for being funny. However, according to AdAge, the commercial was directed by Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper, so that's something, we reckon. Look for it in the third quarter.
KIA: "The Truth"
Something about Laurence Fishburne and a few Matrix jokes and a hacked-up lip-synch to "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. We never thought we'd say this, but bring back the rodents. PLEASE.
A blessedly shorter 60-second version of this clip for the awkwardly named 2015 Kia K900 will run during Q3.
MASERATI: "Now We Strike"
An unknown in Super Bowl advertising, Maserati has a new, less expensive sedan to sell. The ad ends on a high (exhaust) note -- it's just too bad all the potential buyers were actually sitting in Met Life Stadium when it aired.
TOYOTA: Unnamed clip for the 2014 Toyota Highlander
Say what you will about Toyota, but the World's Biggest Automaker knows how to make an ad with broad appeal that also manages to be memorable, not dull and safe (cf. Hyundai above). For the Highlander clip, its agency partner, Saatchi & Saatchi, has melded a Gen X and Gen Y staple, the Muppets, with football icon Terry Crews, to create something both quirky and family-friendly. The only downside? We have a hard time remembering that this is a clip for the Highlander. Then again, the Muppets tend to upstage everyone.
We're under the impression that Toyota has a second clip up its sleeve, but it doesn't seem to have debuted. There's no word on when either clip will run during the broadcast.
We've already shared our feelings about this underwhelming clip. If it's okay with you, we'd prefer not to relive it. You're on your own.