With the 2017 game coming amid intense political debate about
immigration and refugee rights in the Donald Trump era, some
viewers might be disappointed that FCA did not attempt to make a
broader statement about unity. The automaker and Global Chief
Marketing Officer Olivier Francois are known for classic Super Bowl
ads like 2012's "Halftime in America" that featured Clint Eastwood
attempting to rally Americans hurt by job loss.
But FCA had significant business-related reasons to go all-in on
Alfa this year as it it seeks to relaunch and expand it in the U.S.
The new lineup includes the Giulia sedan and a crossover called the
Stelvio, the first SUV in Alfa's history, which debuted late last
year at the Los Angeles auto show.
The first ad that aired in Sunday's game was a 60-second spot
called "Riding Dragons." The agency behind it is Art Machine.
The phrase appears to perhaps be a subtle nod to the Alfa logo,
which includes a red cross and a dragon/snake figure. For more on
check out this 2014 post from Jalopnik. The ad weaves together
images of children playing with historical footage of the Alfa
brand, while declaring that "staying true to who you are is all
The second spot that aired, running 30-seconds, was by FCA
roster agency The Richards Group. Called "Dear
Predictable," it featured a female voiceover declaring that she
found a "permanent escape from monotony," while Alfa Romeo's new
Giulia sedan is shown racing at breakneck speeds.
The last ad that aired was a 30-second spot by FCA roster shop
The spot, called "Mozzafiato," has an Italian flair with the
Giulia shown amid landscapes like a Venetian canal. Mozzafiato, it
is explained, "means to take one's breath away." The kicker: "Some
cars take your breath away. Only one gives it back."
But will this year's ads take viewers breaths away like FCA has
done in past Super Bowls?
The automaker's classics include 2011's two-minute
"Born of Fire" ad for the Chrysler brand that used the Eminem
song "Lose Yourself" while introducing the iconic tagline "Imported
from Detroit." That was followed in 2012 by the
"Halftime in America" ad. It gained rave reviews except for
feedback from some critics, like Republican strategist Karl Rove,
who suggested it was a political statement in support of President
Obama's auto bailout.
The next year came an ad called "The Farmer" for
FCA's Ram brand. It gained wide notice with its use of radio
legend Steve Harvey's "So God Made a Farmer" audio. But the spot
also faced critics who
complained it did not include nonwhite farmers.
For last year's game FCA dedicated two minutes to its Jeep
brand, including one spot, "Portraits" by Cheil Worldwide's Iris New York, that celebrated the brand's
75th anniversary by using 60 images from around the world that
showed famous people with ties to Jeep, such as Marilyn Monroe,
Jeff Goldblum and BB King.
This year's ads -- which are devoid of even the slightest hints
of politics -- seem unlikely to draw heavy criticism. And
considering how politically divided America is at the moment, that
could be a good thing for the automaker -- as long as it sells
plenty of Alfa Romeos in the coming months.