Super Bowl Second Half Car Commercials End with a Sizzler

By Mike Mello


The second half of Super Bowl XLII brought another commercial, complete with shrunken human heads. Perhaps the car shopper threatening the sales person with shrinking his head if the shopper doesn’t get what he wants is just pushing my fantasy envelope too far? It didn’t hit me as quite as funny as the first spot and it’s already got me asking how many more of these are we going to see? Out of these two ads, I think the first one with the ring of fire was better than the shrinking heads.

The two ads for the Hyundai Genesis presented the car well enough to get people into the showroom, and the tagline urged viewers to “think about it.” I’m left thinking that the Genesis looks a lot like a Mercedes-Benz, but that’s probably alright with a lot of folks. No comedy in these Hyundai ads – just tasteful shots of the 375-horsepower flagship sedan with a familiar grille.

A couple commercials surprised me, and I’m including them for their advertising either a car-related product, or for using interesting automotive imagery (more on that in just a few lines…)

The ad from Garmin was very enjoyable, if only for the gorgeous maroon sedan which a Napoleon Bonaparte character drives through Paris at the direction of his Garmin Nuvi. What kind of car is he driving? There was enough footage of the car that I paid close attention until the end, where Napoleon meets up with his troops and stuffs the Nuvi in his pocket. Here’s the Garmin/Napoleon ad:

Lastly, the commercial for Amp energy drink totally caught me off guard and I’m still laughing -if not crying- at the absurdity of the tow truck driver who “amps” himself in order to jumpstart a yellow Focus. This spot was shown at the right time, near the end of the game, when people have had plenty of refreshments and could use a good laugh in between some tense closing moments on the football field.

In the ad, a tow truck driver hops out of his truck, hooks up one end of the jumper cables to the dead battery, and clamps the other end to his bare nipples. The tow truck guy has a substantial amount of character, matched by his 1950’s tow rig behind him, complete with fold-out speakers that blast Salt-N-Pepa’s classic hit, “Push It.” When the Focus’ engine doesn’t start on the first try, the tow man chugs a little Amp beverage and the voltage begins to flow…and sizzle. As you would expect, the car starts after the energy boost and the viewer is left with the tagline: “Amp yourself.” See the ad at Amp’s site.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. The Amp Energy drink one with the tow truck driver may have been the funniest car-related commercial.

    Nice coverage on these, Mike!

    Sorry about the Patriots. I was hoping we’d see some history, but Eli Manning had a heck of a fourth quarter.

  2. The car in the Garmin commercial was a early-60’s Panhard PL 17. Very nice car for the time.

  3. Chris, thanks! Being a Patriots fan, it was a tough ride. Manning slipped away and that sort of told the tale, I thought. NY had it together.

    kwrt45, thanks for identifying the Panhard PL 17!

  4. Yes, it looks like that Panhard used in the Garmin commercial is the “Le Tigre” trim level, which was a nice step up from the regular trim. Nice car, that Panhard PL 17. Too bad Panhard got out of the car business after that.

  5. Car guys not being able to ID a Panhard? Really?

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