Over the past few years Volkswagen has been the dominant ‘force’ in Super Bowl advertising, largely due to their partnership with creative agency Deutsch USA, who’ve produced each of the last four hits.
In fact, their aptly named 2011 ad ‘The Force’ has accrued over 67 million views and 5.25 million shares, making it the most successful Super Bowl ad of all time (regardless of sector).
Looks like 2014 will be different though.
Where previously their ads focused on pint-sized kids (in a Darth Vader costume) or cutesy dogs (in the 2012 Bark Side or 2013 Dog Strikes Back commercials), this year’s Volkswagen ad is all about the product (“Volkswagen has the most vehicles on the road with over 100,000 miles than any other brand”) – you can almost hear viewers switching channels and exiting the brand’s YouTube page.
2014’s ‘Wings’ ad fails to elicit anything more than mild amusement and falls a long way short of making viewers ‘excited, curious or enthusiastic’ (SEE: for more insights on why this is important, read Which Automotive Brands are winning the Content Marketing race?).
The average price for a 30-second TV spot this year is around $4 million, so it pays to take careful aim before flushing those marketing dollars down both TV and web channels. And with each brand seeding these ads weeks in advance, the (entry-level) budget can quickly rise to between $10 million and $15 million).
The battle for the leader-board is tight this year thanks to Jaguar, making their Super Bowl debut with “British Villains”, while Terry Crews and the Muppets join Toyota. Lawrence Fishburne (aka ‘Morpheus’) and Kia are running Jaguar close, while Audi’s “Doberhuahua’ spot is predictably flat-lining (in terms of views) despite the dulcet tones of singer Sarah McLachlan.
SEE ALSO: Super Bowl 48: The pre-game reckoning
The biggest change so far this year is how far engagement levels seemed to have dropped. In 2013, we saw yield results of between 2% and 9% at the top, while so far in 2014 only Kia and Audi have reached above 1%.
Are Super Bowl ads losing their appeal or are advertisers forgetting how to produce good native content?
This year’s chart is listed below, while the videos are shown further down the page. We’ll update this page as any changes occur so check back again later and see how they fare after the TV spots air on February 2nd.
|# Data provided courtesy of Unruly Media’s Viral Video Chart. Data accurate as of 6th Febraury, 2014.|
Maserati’s 90-second Super Bowl spot came out of the shadows on game day, taking everyone by surprise. It’s a homage to the new Ghibli, which you’ll eventually discover after a minute of the commercial. It’s a brilliant mix of product promotion and atmospheric rapture which does Maserati (and the new Ghibli) proud. “Maserati – the absolute opposite of ordinary.”
They say:Walk out of the shadows, quietly walk out of the dark – and strike.
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A late entry from Chevy has become one of the most shared automotive ads of this year’s Super Bowl featuring a mini-narrative in support of cancer survivors. It works because the brand removed itself from the commercial (apart from at the end), showing a degree of sensitivity that makes the ad worth sharing.
They say:“Life” celebrates survivors and those who support them on the road to recovery. Chevrolet will contribute $1 to the American Cancer Society for every purple profile, up to $1 million. You can turn your Facebook or Twitter profile pictures purple at
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They say:Comedian Rob Riggle demonstrates what #NearlyDouble actually means in the Big Game commercial from Ford. But why does Rob look so much like… James Franco?
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They say: This year sees Jaguar joining the fray and using Super Bowl to launch the new F-TYPE Coupé. The ad features British actors Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong as a trio of British villains who star in Jaguar’s cinematic “Rendezvous” spot, filmed by Oscar-winning British director Tom Hooper.
“Now, do we have your full attention? Excellent. Our gents have the character, intelligence and sheer determination to turn the world upside-down. These eminently admirable qualities are also present across the Jaguar R Performance line-up – and exemplified in a new British villain. Also known as the F-TYPE R Coupe.” Visit the British Villains microsite.
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They say: “Audi has conceived a never-before-seen creature to show the frightening consequences of bringing compromise into the world. The commercial highlights the all-new Audi A3 and celebrates the uncompromised spirit that led to the A3’s unrivalled technology and performance.”
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They say: Toyota’s trailer features US actor Terry Crews being car-jacked by Rowlf from the Muppets. According to Toyota’s ad men “One boring man, in a world full of boring choices, makes a stop that will change his life forever. In the all-new Toyota Highlander, the Big Game will be anything but boring. #NoRoomForBoring”.
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They say: “In the 2014 Game Day commercial from Volkswagen, watch as a father tells his daughter that every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German Engineer gets his wings.”
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They say:“An unsuspecting couple meets Morpheus at a valet stand. He presents them with two choices: a red key or a blue key. Should they choose wisely, they’ll never look at luxury—or Kia—the same again.”
Kia have brought back American actor Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus (from “The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions”) to help promote its new K900 flagship saloon. The campaign theme is “Experience a New Reality”.
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