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Super Bowl XLVIII studded with car ads

At least 8 automakers have teased spots for America's most watched sporting event

By Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune

4:31 PM CST, January 30, 2014

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Car commercials and televised football go together like Super Bowl and overrated. America’s most watched sporting event draws viewers to everything from the halftime show to the over/under on how many times Peyton Manning will call Omaha. (It is 27.5.)

Sure, the Super Bowl spectacle includes a football game but it is also the only televised event where adult viewers look forward to the commercials.

While the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, which has taken on epic puns, man, since it features teams from the two states where marijuana is legal, no less than 8 automakers have teased their super spots for the big Bowl on Sunday, February 2.

GM, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Volkswagen, even first-timer Jaguar will have a spot, which costs automakers at least $4 million for 30 seconds, according to Melissa Burden for The Detroit News.

Several of the spots are not mere commercials but micro movies.

Kia

Kia’s launch into the luxury class comes with the help of Morpheus, the character played by Laurence Fishburne in the dimension-bending Matrix Trilogy. As a car valet, Morpheus persuades a couple to “take the red key and you’ll never look at luxury the same again.” Then, as a passenger, he turns into an opera singer as the K900 blows by other luxury cars. It’s 1:32 long. The entire campaign, which features several spots by Fishburne and a white rabbit on the website, is as impressive as the Korean automaker's V8 K900 sedan.  

Volkswagen

The mystical is at play in Volkswagen’s 100,000 miles ad. For those of us used to German engineering, expect German fun from a factory full of engineers who unexpectedly get their wings every time a VW hits 100,000 miles. Some fine schadenfreude here.

Chevy   

After an absence last year, Chevy gets its Super Bowl wings back for 2014 with some Silverado love. The spot called “Romance” features a rancher towing a trailer with a very special bull, all set to the Hot Chocolate song, “You Sexy Thing.” Looks like some heifers believe in miracles. And the Super Bowl MVP will receive a new Silverado High Country.

Hyundai

Hyundai gives Dad a hand in preventing sons from accidents in “Dad’s Sixth Sense.” There’s a few moments that most parents can relate to, especially the never-gets-old piñata incident. The spot is for the auto emergency braking system in the 2015 Genesis, which apparently prevents against teenage distraction.

Jaguar

Jaguar asks why the villians in all Hollywood movies are played by Brits. After listing their villainous attributes, the trio of Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong add, “And we all drive Jaguars.” The #goodtobebad campaign is action blockbuster-esque, which is what Jaguar wants with the new F-type R Coupe, which has a 5-liter supercharged V8 that makes 550 horsepower. Villainous.  

Ford enlists James Franco to wink at us, Toyota crowds a new Highlander full of Muppets, which is just too obnoxious to feature, and Billboard reports that Chrysler is employing Bob Dylan, who once sang about riding into Omaha on a horse, presumably a Bronco. 

rduffer@tribune.com

@DufferRobert