Top Gear Thursday: Ten Best 2012 Super Bowl Car Ads

Matthew Broderick, with fluffy panda bear, in Honda Super Bowl ad.

 

As we all know, America’s Super Bowl is merely a publicity outlet for TV commercials, and many of the most elaborately produced – and the funniest – are for cars.

And this year, fueled by the recovering auto industry, cars ads will figure prominently in the broadcast.

“Forget the cola wars,” says USA Today. “Super Bowl XLVI is all about the car wars.”

So in a special edition of Top Gear Thursday, we present a sampling of early entries for your viewing pleasure.

The star commercial of last year’s Super Bowl – named the best ad of the year by Adweek – was the “Darth Vader kid” ad by Volkswagen. This year, the German car maker rolled out a Star Wars themed teaser featuring a chorus of dogs called “The Bark Side”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ntDYjS0Y3w

Then came the spot itself, “The Dog Strikes Back”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-9EYFJ4Clo

Honda has a movie themed ad as well, hiring Matthew Broderick to spoof his own Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

The spirit of Rocky is enlisted by Hyundai:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1R4BWtBIGJ0

Jerry Seinfeld toplines this Acura’s commercial, which features, among many others, the Soup Nazi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUFSHzT2xuY&feature=player_embedded

Toyota, which claims to have reinvented the Camry, doesn’t stop there:

Chevy ran a contest to come up with one of its campaigns. Here’s the winner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ae52ourE3Pw

Audi is using vampires this year to sell cars:

Man vs. beast is the theme, sort of, in this Hyundai commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEq74TCDGtc&feature=player_embedded

And here’s an approach, from Chevy, that should warm the hearts of the Top Gear boys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iuvoSw1TiJ8

• The following automobile ads won’t air in the Super Bowl. Actually, they won’t even air in this country; they’re from the UK. But they are worthy of your attention.

A clever Peugeot ad using paper animation:

Cartoon rappers invade this British Toyota ad, which is aimed squarely at the teenage demo. A little bonkers, but you can’t look away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uoI__WBvNQ

Here’s a slick BMW ad that also teases London’s upcoming Summer Olympics. It contains all the attendant sports/cars analogies about performance, agility, etc.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23BEUluKheY&feature=player_embedded

• Just an FYI to Top Gear fans with iPads and iPhones: the Stunt School app is free for a limited time.

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Which are your favorite Super Bowl car ads?

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