The most popular car ads from Super Bowl XLVIII

February 3, 2014 12:00 AM

For some, the excitement of the Super Bowl surrounds the actual game. For others, though, this event is all about the halftime show - and all of the advertisements in between. This year's Big Game may have been disappointing for Broncos fans, but it definitely didn't let down any auto enthusiasts. There were a multitude of innovative and humorous car commercials that definitely attracted viewers' attention - whether they're in the market for a vehicle that requires minimal auto repair or just interested in upcoming models and trends. In an attempt to determine the impact of these ads, Kelley Blue Book analyzed search activity on the site right after the commercials aired. The findings were somewhat surprising.

A changing image
One brand that saw an incredibly favorable outcome from its advertising efforts is Maserati. Kelley Blue Book reported that searches for the Ghibli increased a whopping 4,250 percent, which is the most of any new model advertised during the Super Bowl XLVIII. Arthur Henry, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, noted that the brand is not typically a household luxury name. However, the movie trailer-like ad made the model, which is Maserati's first car selling under $100K, appeal to a new and very important demographic.

"There are less luxury shoppers than there are non-luxury shoppers in the marketplace today, and it takes much to move the needle," explained Henry. "This year was different in which luxury shoppers responded in a big way. In years past when shoppers where tighter with their wallets, the luxury brands didn't have the impact on shoppers as they did this year. As the economy and shopper confidence improves, luxury looks to be the hot ticket item for 2014."

Other winners
The ad for the Jaguar F-Type also reaped favorable results, with a 1,733 percent increase. The Hyundai Genesis slid in at No. 3 with an 838 percent increase, and the Audi A3 followed closely behind at 813 percent. However, it's worth mentioning that Audi was the second most-searched brand on the whole following its "doberhuahua" commercial. Meanwhile, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Hyundai Elantra saw subtler yet still notable search increases at 122 percent, 120 percent and 115 percent, respectively. The Jeep Cherokee slid in with a 98 percent boost in searches and the Toyota Hylander managed to make the list with an 81 percent increase.

Non-luxury cars also saw success with ads as well. For example, after Ford ran two consecutive commercials for its new model, the Fusion Hybrid became the top searched for model on the Kelley Blue Book site. So what was the attraction for viewers? According to Henry, the automaker highlighted the fact that the hybrid model boasts superior fuel economy, which is a top selling point for many motorists. Of all the non-luxury brands that advertised during the Big Game, though, Jeep drew the most attention, with the highest search activity on after its ad aired. The "Built Free" campaign appears to be striking a chord with its target audience and also continuing to cement the automaker's reputation as a leading producer of sport utility vehicles.

Research by Edmunds, on the other hand, came to different conclusions about the popularity of Super Bowl auto spots. According to the firm's analysis, the ad for the 2015 Kia K900 won over the hearts of viewers. This commercial, which starred legendary actor Laurence Fishburne, was called "The Truth," is particularly significant because it represents the brand's transition into the luxury market. Edmunds evaluated Model Site Consideration based on quarterly updates and compared them to a baseline period. The The Kia K900 saw a 9,075 percent lift in consideration in the fourth quarter following the ad's air. However, the 2014 Maserati Ghibli only saw a 911 percent boost in consideration among car shoppers at the end of the fourth quarter.

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