The Best 2024 Super Bowl Ads for Autos, From BMW to VW

It’s the Big Game, and you know what that means! Time to participate in the two worlds that define this now-global phenomenon: the camps of diehard fans who likely have entire college tuitions riding on bets, or the football agnostics who still chuckle at the phrase “superb owl.” If you’re one of the latter — aka one who only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials — then you’ll appreciate the fine art of the car commercial, from agencies and marketing departments who paid up to $14 million to capture your attention with celebrities and elaborate costumes. Here’s a rundown of the ones that made the biggest impact.


BMW Superbowl ad

The key to success for any Super Bowl ad is to put a random celebrity in a random scenario. (In college advertising programs, it’s known as the “David Hasselhoff Rule.”) Hence, BMW dug deep into its proverbial wallets to get Christopher Walken to tolerate people doing various Christopher Walken impressions of him, while behind the wheel of the BMW i5. It’s a cute premise, although it’s the first and most basic thing anyone can think about the multiple Oscar winner and the man who has played villains in both James Bond and Batman.


Kia best superbowl ad 2024

There’s always the ad that tugs at the heartstrings, and it takes Sondheim-level talent to compress that into a minute-long spot without being too cloying. This spot for the Kia EV9 does pretty well of bringing a young figure skater to a private performance, before an elderly grandfather. It also helps that the EV9 can power up an entire frozen lake of lights and music. Kia is a company that’s changed their logo and tagline seemingly a dozen times in the past few years, so perhaps “Movement That Inspires” was really made for this one.


Volkswagen best superbowl ad 2024

Celebrating 75 years on American shores, Volkswagen draws on the same self-deprecating sentiment of the Beetle — what Doyle Dane Bernbach did originally back in 1959 with the “Think Small” campaign. Again, college advertising majors will have memorized these ads to, well, ad nauseam. But then we see the original Beetle evolve into Herbie! And the Sixties! And into hip-hop culture, and a nice Simpsons reference while we’re at it! There’s even the throwback to the brand’s last major Super Bowl ad — you know, the one with the kid dressed as Darth Vader. If you’ve never thought about the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, then here’s your chance. All it’s missing is Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon.”


Hyundai best superbowl ad 2024

Did you know that Vikings never wore horned helmets? You might have heard this bit of pedantry on a history podcast, or from someone at your Super Bowl party who still calls it “sportsball.” Someone at Hyundai did their research on Norse culture, because none of the badass Vikings in this spot for the Hyundai Santa Fe are wearing horns, but instead drinking from them. If this was a beer commercial, the tagline would inevitably be “unleash your inner Viking,” but anyone who dresses their entire family in Patagonia puffer jackets is already thinking that, anyway. 


Toyota best superbowl ad 2024

This spot features what is less charitably known as the “oh shit handle,” that classic standby of both serene highway cruising and the sort of desert-sliding adventures that this advertisement features. One can assume that Toyota engineers obsessively ran the numbers on the tensile strength of the handle’s various components. Showing what the Tacoma can do climbing giant sand dunes and also doing S-shaped drifts is a great time for at least one person inside said Tacoma. For everyone else, that’s their problem, the ad suggests: just be sure to open the door before you lose your lunch.

The Dawn Project (Tesla)

Dawn Project best superbowl ad 2024

Tesla didn’t run a Super Bowl ad. In fact, Tesla has never run a Super Bowl ad, or any ad on television in the last few years. But Tesla was mentioned during the event in general: a project known as the Dawn Project aired anti-Tesla ads for the second consecutive year, reiterating the point that the still-unproven self-driving technology could fail to stop for, and therefore run over, children—or anyone else, for that matter. Self-driving capabilities are still unproven for the most part (especially past the school buses that feature heavily in this ad) so tech entrepreneur Dan O’Dowd seems to have a point. However, the “won’t somebody please think of the children?” angle has a lot of convincing to do without sounding contrived, especially with the footage of childlike dummies being punted into the foreground by badly behaving Teslas. With real-world self-driving fatality statistics out there for us to peruse, this one might be lost on the fanbase of those who still think Elon Musk is good at tweeting Rick and Morty memes.