The Best 2009 Super Bowl Car Commercials

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We’ll just stick to what we thought of the carmakers and their spots. Which ruled the big day? Check them out — with video — from worst to first below.


Toyota Venza: Are you Venza?
Ad Meter Rank: 48 out of 50
The first time we heard about this ad we thought it would be bad, and come game time we were proved right. It’s just really boring, showing once again that car companies are trying to make a vehicle something it’s not. Conceived as the wagon/SUV for the Boomer set, with a low step-in height and a cargo area big enough for antiques, the commercial instead shows an art-collecting 30-something who cares about style and gadgets more than function. That’s almost as bad as Ford’s Flex commercials showing young women hitting the clubs in what is essentially a minivan alternative. Don’t try and fool your customers.

Toyota Tundra: Killer Heat
Ad Meter Rank: NR
Believe it or not, trucks are selling again, and the timing of this commercial was not as bad as some might think. However, we’re getting a little tired of extreme-test commercials. It kind of worked the first time Toyota did it two years ago, but now, with a ring of fire trying to test the Tundra’s metal … we’re not that impressed.

Hyundai: Contract
Ad Meter Rank: 49 out of 50
This is the ad were Hyundai tries to explain that if you buy a new Hyundai and then lose your job, you can return it with no significant penalties. Besides being a snooze, we’re not sure it said that plainly enough because of the use of the word “income” versus “job” in the commercial.

Hyundai: Angry Bosses
Ad Meter Rank: NR
Car folks probably found this funnier than non-car folks, but it was still slightly amusing with the heavily accented Japanese and German executives fuming over the Hyundai Genesis’ win as North American Car of the Year.

Ad Meter Rank: NR
Because this played before the kickoff, we’re not sure if it’s considered an official Super Bowl ad, but it had a healthy splash of aggressive driving of the new Hyundai Genesis coupe, terrific camera angles and a Smashing Pumpkins soundtrack. It felt worthy to us.


Audi: Chase
Ad Meter Rank: 12 out of 50
We’re not sure if viewers got the whole time-travel thing, or if the 1970s Mercedes and 1980s BMW not doing the trick came across at all. Also, how many A6 owners are evading masked men? Probably none, but Jason Statham knows how to drive an Audi in chase scenes, and he does a good job of pulling it all together.

*We also liked the Bridgestone ad with the moon buggy, but it kind of fell outside our parameters.

Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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