Ram Gets Our Nod as Super Bowl’s Top Auto Ad

There were only four national ads from automakers in the 2023 Super Bowl, but one was better than the rest: the Ram Truck ad from Stellantis.

5 Min Read
Ram 2 (002)
Ram ad best of a small bunch at this year’s Super Bowl.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, the auto industry traditionally has supplied some serious highlights and occasionally some problematic duds.

In this year’s game, there were just four national automotive ads, with each of the 60-second spots costing about $13 million for the airtime.

With car companies nowadays selling every vehicle they can manufacture, many that have advertised in the big game in the past, including Hyundai, BMW, Toyota and Polestar, opted to sit out this year.

Volkswagen, which has made some creative hay in the past with fan favorites like the 2011 ad in which a boy is dressed as Darth Vader from Star Wars, stayed home. But executives at the just-concluded Chicago Auto Show teased that they might well return next year when VW has the ID. Buzz (the resurrected, electrified Microbus).

But there were four solid entries from General Motors, Jeep, Ram and Kia for us to review.

#1: Ram

When it comes to bringing an A-game to the Super Bowl, few chief marketing officers understand the opportunity like Stellantis’s Olivier Francois, who is also CEO of Fiat.

For this year’s ad, Francois signed off on an effort that pokes fun at the tension between consumers and manufacturers as well as the policymakers who want to rush the U.S. into an all-electric-driving world by 2035.

There is no shortage of news about the insufficient charging network that sometimes bedevils early-adopter BEV buyers. The Ram ad leans into this anxiety for a giggle by creating what looks like a pharma ad full of sexual innuendos.

“Premature Electrification” features actor Jason Jones (a correspondent from “The Daily Show”) as the narrator.

Showing the plight of being stranded in a BEV with an empty battery and no place to charge, we see a couple (pictured, below) walking down the road, with the narrator talking about the fear of “not lasting as long as you’d like.” The husband talks about having lots of charge before, “but sometimes it goes away.”

Ram 3 (002).jpg

Ram 3 (002)

This ad works to get viewers’ attention with wry humor and a good story-joke. On top of the ad execution, the creative strategy also works on another level to remind people in-the-know how much abuse parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles took when it changed its name to Stellantis, which many critics said sounded like a pharmaceutical brand.

The payoff of the ad directs viewers to go to RamRev.com, which is the website dedicated to the forthcoming Ram Rev battery-electric pickup truck.

This spot is by far the most risk-taking and humorous and feels like a traditional over-the-top Super Bowl ad. It is the clear winner in terms of entertaining, educating and persuading consideration. For that reason, we think Ram was  the best automotive ad at this year’s Super Bowl.

#2: Jeep

Every car company is out to convince car buyers that buying an electric vehicle is cool and much less hassle than they may believe. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid will give you an electric-only charge for 21 miles (34 km) of quiet, emission-free driving, plenty for most trail driving or rock crawling.

Jeep takes us through a wild country joyride during “Electric Boogie” where we see bears, giraffes, elephants, owls and other wildlife (pictured, below) dancing and grooving to a new rendition of the song from Marcia Griffiths and Shaggy.

It’s high-energy and playful and it pays off by showing how even the super-tough, gas-guzzling Wrangler has gone partially electric.

Jeep 1 (002).jpg

Jeep 1 (002)

#3: General Motors

GM recently partnered with Netflix to have its BEVs placed into storylines of Netflix-produced series and movies. The two companies kick off the deal with a Super Bowl ad featuring actor Will Ferrell driving and riding in GM BEVs in scenes from Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” “Squid Game,” “Army of The Dead” and “Bridgerton.”

“Why Not an EV?” shows Ferrell driving through “Bridgerton” in a Cadillac Lyriq (pictured, below), through “Squid Game” in a Chevy Blazer EV and through “Army of The Dead” in a GMC Sierra pickup BEV.

GM does a nice job of tagging some of Netflix’s top properties in the spot, a good strategy so as to engage a wide swath of game viewers who might otherwise be hitting the bathroom or the pantry for a refill on wings, dip and chips.

Nothing fancy here, but a very solid creative effort to draw attention to both GM’s BEVs and the Netflix deal.

GM Netflix 1.jpg

GM Netflix 1

#4: Kia

Kia swaps RoboDog, a darling of last year’s Super Bowl, for a finicky baby who demands a very specific “binky” that the dad has forgotten on a trip to a hotel. He gets into his Kia Telluride X Pro and, to the sounds of the theme from “Rocky,” traverses snow-covered roads and trails and even drives through a giant storm drain, all while TV news crews and social media follow #binkydad (pictured, below).

While “Binky Dad” is cute, it lacks the charm of RoboDog and feels a tad contrived. It’s far from a dud, but just not quite “super.”

Kia2 JPG.jpg

Kia2 JPG



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