Yesterday’s Superbowl featured two car commercials that couldn’t have been from more opposite ends of the spectrum. The first was from BMW, promoting its new all-electric i3. The spot features Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric, circa 1994, discussing the internet like they were from a cave. Then they end up in 2015 discussing the all-electric BMW like they still live in a cave — making the point that new, transformative technologies take getting used to at first.
I like the spot because it makes that technology connection to EVs, although I think BMW could have played up the performance of the car rather than focus so much on the wind-powered BMW factory (who hasn’t heard of wind turbines? That’s an old technology). But it’s nice to see all-electrics get Superbowl attention (you may recall the plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR ran a controversial spot last year). Here’s the BMW ad:
But then Jeep aired an ad for its Renegade SUV that was ultimately galling. Over a pensive rendition of “This Land Is Your Land,” it featured shots of beautiful spots around the world, including Southeast Asian waterways, redwood forests, and North African deserts. At the end, the message is: “The world is a gift. Play responsibly.” And then: “America’s smallest, lightest SUV.”
Only a car company would ask people to celebrate our natural world as a gift while it simultaneously burns the gases that are destroying it. Keep in mind that just 90 companies may ultimately be responsible for two-thirds of the greenhouse gases emitted since the dawning of the industrial age, and the big contributors are oil companies that exist in large part to fuel vehicles like the Renegade.
You can watch the Jeep spot here: