Fiat taps power of little blue pill in Super Bowl ad.
Many auto commercials have been teased or released ahead of time, but Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota have spots they have worked to keep secret until they air during the big game tonight.
Cinematic sweep was the backdrop for Jeep, a century of wisdom for Dodge and risque humor for Fiat – the three Super Bowl commercials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. unit.
They were among a small but strong group of auto ads during the big game.
“I’m surprised how well the auto ads did compared to the competition,” said Mike Bernacchi, marketing professor at University of Detroit Mercy.
He was pleasantly surprised at the sensitivity shown and caliber of the auto ads.
The 90-second Jeep ad for the new compact Renegade SUV was the most ambitious of the Chrysler ads.
It was strong in its brand messaging, showing the global breadth of the Jeep brand and it was beautifully shot, said analyst Michelle Krebs of, an online auto shopping site.
Following a tradition set by the original Eminem commercial in 2011 and sweeping spots every year since, the ambitious Jeep ad was shot in 40 locations in 10 countries. Set to Woody Guthrie’s 1940’s song “This Land is Your Land” and performed by Marc Scibilia, it has scenes in Brazil, China, Spain, the U.K., Japan, Australia, Thailand, India and the United Arab Emirates. There are also landscapes from the United States where the compact 2015 will be sold and Italy where the SUV is built.
The “Beautiful Lands” campaign also promotes efforts to increase global awareness of to ensure a safe water supply for all parts of the world.
Krebs said it was wise to show the brand known for SUVs cares about the planet.
Bernacchi said showing an Islamic woman was risky, a breakthrough and well done.
While the Jeep ad was cinematic, the Fiat ad went for humor, with a 60-second commercial for the Fiat 500X crossover coming this spring.
The Fiat commercial traces the path of a little blue pill that an amorous Italian man accidentally loses as he attempts to pop it into his mouth.
The pill bounces around a village in Italy and eventually lands in the gas tank of a Fiat 500 and the two-door minicar grows to the size of the four-door 500X.power of a little blue pill was the star of the first of three ads from – historically known as Chrysler – which hit the air waves leading into halftime of the Super Bowl .
The final line: “The Fiat 500X crossover. Bigger, more powerful and ready for action.” The ad has been on YouTube but this is its television debut.
Twitter traffic showed an appreciation for the humor in a game with many commercials that veered more to the dramatic with some dealing with the serious topics of child fatalities and disabilities.
“FCA US always strives to do something different, something unexpected yet with a purpose, for the largest television audience of the year and this year’s Super Bowl videos are no exception,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA Global.
Early in the third quarter came a 60-second Dodge celebrating the wisdom that comes with age.
The spot celebrates the Dodge brand that dates back to 1914 and is filled with advice from people as old, or older than the brand itself.
Among the pearls of wisdom: “live fast” and “never ever forget where you came from.” The spot ends with the conclusion: “You learn a lot in 100 years. Here’s to the next 100.”
“The Fiat 500X is an important global launch for us, 100 years also is a significant landmark for an automotive brand, and Dodge is our first U.S. brand to reach this milestone,” Francois said. “What better way to share these events with the more than 100 million people watching tonight’s Super Bowl telecast than to air two entertaining and successful online hits, ‘The FIAT 500X Blue Pill’ and ‘Wisdom’ on broadcast television for the first time.”
Since Chrysler ignited Detroit pride with its two-minute Eminem ad four years ago, the Auburn Hills automaker has successfully built anticipation for its commercials each year.
Many commercials were teased or released ahead of time, but Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota have spots they worked to keep secret until they aired.
During the first half, there were commercials from Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Fiat and BMW. Data from showed huge jumps in website traffic for the BMW i3 and Toyota Camry after their ads aired.
Last year, a quarter of the ad space was used by a car brand: nine automakers purchased time for 11 brands. There are only six automakers advertising this year. Among those opting out during the actual game, when air time is priciest, are General Motors, Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen.
Minutes before the kickoff, Chevrolet aired a pre-game spot called “Blackout” that mimicked a live game feed which devolved into static and then the screen went blank before the fake disruption revealed itself as a commercial for the Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup. The message: having 4G LTE Wi-Fi in a Colorado could allow uninterrupted live streaming of the game.
“It was very clever,” Krebs said.
General Motors planned a number of pre- and post-game spots for the Colorado. saw pre-game advertising was yielding hikes in web traffic for the Chevrolet Colorado, Mini Cooper and BMW i8.
Here is a rundown of the commercials:
■ FCA US , the company previously known as Chrysler, aired its first spot during the second quarter: the Fiat spot celebrating 100 years of the Dodge brand aired in the third quarter as well as the Jeep ad.
Since 2010, the automaker has spent an estimated $89.5 million on Super Bowl ads. Only Anheuser Busch has spent more money over that period, according to Kantar Media, an advertising research and consulting firm.
Here are the automaker’s ads from the past four years:
■ Nissan: The Japanese automaker wants to make a brand statement with its feel-good story about dads and their struggle to contribute to their families to the tune of “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin.
The full 90-second ad ran in the second quarter showing a dad who, as a race car driver in a cameo appearance by the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo, is away from home a lot and his family watches his races on television, including at least one crash. In the end, dad shows up in a Maxima to pick him up from school.
■ BMW: Former “Today Show” hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel try to figure out the point and purpose of the i3, a small plug-in hatchback as BMW aims to portray itself as a leader in electric vehicles and cutting edge technology.
The ad, which aired early in the first quarter, is is the first national brand ad for either Couric or Gumbel. Couric is Yahoo Global News Anchor and Gumbel is host of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO. It was created by Kirshenbaum, Bond, Senecal & Partners.
■ Kia: The sixth consecutive Super Bowl appearance by the Korean automaker has a humorous 60-second ad with action star Pierce Brosnan. The former James Bond actor is braced for action as he drives a Sorento SUV up a snowy road but the only pratfalls are an owl and a moose. The ad was created by agency, David & Goliath.
■ Lexus: Toyota’s luxury brand showcases the performance of the Lexus NX 200t and NX 300h hybrid in a heart-pumping, but straightforward ad that shows the two cars racing through what appears to be an empty parking garage. It aired before the start of the second quarter.
A second ad could highlight the RC coupe.
■ Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz has its most integrated Super Bowl marketing initiative to date with a fresh take on Aesop’s classic Tortoise and the Hare fable.
Mercedes-Benz premiered its new Super Bowl commercial for the AMG GT sports car on the Jan. 26 episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
In this version, the Tortoise wins with the help of the sports car:
“Fable” was directed by academy-award winning director Robert Stromberg, known for his stunning visual effects in such films as “Avatar,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Maleficent.” It is his first commercial. The ad agency is Merkley + Partners.
■ Toyota: Toyota showcases the 2015 Camry by using the voice of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in a spot called “How Great I Am” that features Amy Purdy, a Paralympic medalist, sprinting on running blades, snowboarding and driving a Camry.
“I done wrestled with an alligator, I have tussled with a whale, I done handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail,” Ali says in the voiceover. “I am going to show you how great I am.”
Ali gave the speech before his historic “Rumble in the Jungle” bout with George Foreman in 1974.
The ad aired early in the first quarter. A second ad during halftime was an emotional spot highlighting what makes a good dad.
“Overall the auto ads scored very well,” Bernacchi said.