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Acura - What He Said

February 07, 2016 | :30

American Honda's Acura brand returned to the Super Bowl in 2016, to promote the soon-to-arrive-in-showrooms NSX supercar, for the first time since 2012, when it promoted the less-imminent NSX supercar ("Transactions").

That stylistically very different 2012 spot, Acura's Super Bowl debut, featured Jerry Seinfeld battling noted gearhead Jay Leno for the first NSX off the production line.

Once the production line actually existed, the 2016 commercial via MullenLowe uses molten metal and arcing sparks to suggest the machine-birth of the NSX, accompanied by Van Halen's "Runnin' With the Devil" lest you mistake the work in progress for a saintly Prius or Leaf. (Although the execution is distinct, the ad shares an approach with 1999's "It's Good to Be the Cadillac.")

The NSX production line was not expected to be terribly busy: At a starting price of $156,000, Acura estimated that annual demand would total just 800 vehicles. But, or perhaps therefore, here's a Super Bowl car ad that viscerally stokes I-wanna-have-it feelings for the car itself.

In addition to the frequent pile-up of auto advertising in any given Super Bowl, this game saw supercars go head to head, with Acura's NSX facing Audi's R8 ("The Commander").

Why were any cars out of reach for almost any driver advertised in front of TV's biggest audience of the year, at an estimated cost approaching $5 million for 30 seconds of time? "This car is a representation of precision crafted performance and we are looking for the halo effect on all of our models," Leila Cesario, Acura's manager-national advertising, said at the time. Similar thinking went into the buys from Audi for its R8 and Buick, which used its Super Bowl debut in 2016 to promote a convertible that wasn't meant to be a top seller ("Wedding").

Acura released "What He Said" spot widely on Jan. 29, nine days before the game.

Director: Joe Wright. Production company: A White Label Product.

Chief creative officer: Mark Wenneker. Executive creative director: Margaret Keene. VP-director of creative and content: Dylan Schwartz. Creative director: Emile Doucette. Copywriter: Eileen Moss.  Art directors: Kristina Litvin, MyTran Dang. Senior broadcast producer: Mary Donington. Executive producers: Ellen Clarke, Annique De Caestecker.

Send credit info to SuperBowlAdArchive@adage.com.
  • BrandAcura
  • Year2016
  • AgencyMullenLowe
  • Superbowl #50
  • Quarter airedQ1