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Which Brands Drove Super Bowl Advertising for Autos?

Though fewer automotive brands advertised during this year’s Super Bowl, those that did air ads made the most of their time on TV. And they all took different approaches too, with some opting for more serious spots, while others went for a more light-hearted take.

Which automakers fared best, though? Using data from iSpot, we looked at all four auto brand creatives from the Super Bowl to identify how they performed and whether they were a hit with consumers?

Jeep: “The Middle”

Jeep’s “The Middle” was a two-minute spot with Bruce Springsteen, discussing polarization and what truly unites us. The ad performed 5% higher than the norm (for this year’s Super Bowl) from an attention standpoint, and 3% higher in terms of likeability. “Preachy” was the top emotion from survey respondents, with “heartfelt” close behind. The creative’s message was the Single Best Thing about it, according to 40% of respondents. 

Including pre-game, in-game and post-game data, the spot was fifth in terms of digital share of voice, with 6.45% of the conversation, while generating over 102.3 million social impressions. It was Jeep’s fifth straight year as a Super Bowl advertiser. Last year, the brand utilized Bill Murray while paying homage to “Groundhog Day.”

General Motors: “No Way Norway”

General Motors is expanding its electric vehicle production, and has set Norway’s capabilities in its sights as the long-term goal. In its Super Bowl ad, “No Way Norway,” Will Ferrell playfully expresses disdain for the country — all leading to attention that was 6% higher than the norm and likeability that was 5% above the norm. “Funny” was the top emotion from survey respondents, and the characters — Ferrell, Awkwafina, Kenan Thompson — were considered the Single Best Thing about it, per 37% of those surveyed.

GM’s ad was 13th by digital SOV at 1.24%, and generated 34.8 million social impressions.

Cadillac: “Scissorhands”

Cadillac put a spotlight on its new electric crossover vehicle, LYRIQ, with a spot around made-up character Edgar Scissorhands. The ad uses the character — a play off of Edward Scissorhands — to focus on the car’s hands-free super cruise feature. It generated 6% less attention than the norm, and 11% less likeability than the norm. “Curiosity” was the top emotion from survey respondents, with the characters (played by Timothee Chalamet and Winona Ryder) seen as the “Single Best Thing” by 44% of those polled.

The Cadillac creative was eighth in terms of digital SOV (3.05%), generating 67.9 million social impressions.

Toyota: “Upstream”

In “Upstream,” Toyota tells the story of Paralympian Jessica Long, who’s a 13-time Gold Medalist and was also adopted as a child. Audiences saw it as an “inspiring” ad, making it (overwhelmingly) the top emotion. Attention for the spot was 5% higher than the norm, and likeability was 6% above the norm. The message was the Single Best Thing according to 35% of respondents.

Digital SOV for “Upstream” was 0.47%, and generated 55.7 million social impressions. It’s the fourth straight year Toyota’s appeared during the Super Bowl.