Super Bowl car ads include Minnie Driver, but no MINI driver

Extended version of Lexus’ Super Bowl commercial, “Man & Machine.”

One thing for sure about this year’s Super Bowl car commercials.

We’ll miss out on what might have been the best pairing ever between spokesperson and car.

MINI (owned by BMW) will be sitting out the big game this year and Minnie Driver (actress and singer-songwriter) will represent Lexus.

And how did Snickers end up with Star Wars’ Adam Driver as the lead in its SB51 commercial?

Missed opportunities aside, a half dozen automotive brands besides Lexus (Toyota’s luxury marque) – plus vehicle floor-mat manufacturer WeatherTech – have lined up for commercial multi-million-dollar ad spots during Super Bowl 2017, scheduled for Sunday in Houston, TX.

These Hyundai teaser ads appeared during NFL conference championship games.

The others paying $5 million or more for 30 seconds, the most ever, are Audi (owned by Volkswagen), Buick (General Motors), Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes-Benz.

Some previous advertisers taking a pass are Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Fiat Chrysler and BMW.

Here are the players and game plan for this year’s Super Bowl:

  • Audi will appear for the ninth time in 10 years.
  • Buick will be featured in one 30-second spot during the first half, building on its “That’s not a Buick” campaign which pokes fun at the brand’s outdated image, according to Advertising Age.
  • Ford is going with a 90-second transportation solution-themed ad, which will air right after the coin toss and feature ride-sharing and bike-sharing services as well as self-driving cars.
  • Honda reportedly will promote its redesigned Honda CR-V in a single spot.
  • Hyundai will present an ambitious 90-second documentary-style commercial filmed during Super Bowl 2017 and airing in the slot right after the game.
  • Kia will return to the Super Bowl for its eighth consecutive year, reportedly to advertise its Niro hybrid crossover vehicle scheduled to arrive at dealers right about now.
  • Lexus will make its third straight start featuring all-new LS and LC models.
  • Mercedes will mark the 50th anniversary of its AMG sports brand with a fourth appearance.
  • WeatherTech will make its fourth straight appearance with a 30-second first-half commercial.

Kia’s Super Bowl teaser “Run” features Melissa McCarthy.

“Super Bowl is the biggest day in advertising … [so] we wanted to push the creativity and storytelling,” Dean Evans of Hyundai Motor America said of their commercial, which will capture some of the best off-the-field Super Bowl moments for airing in the “post-gun” slot just before the trophy ceremony. Filmmaker Peter Berg (Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Lone Survivor) will direct the production.

Meanwhile, several sources have reported that Buick’s commercial will feature supermodel Miranda Kerr and Cam Newton, quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, the team that lost last year’s Super Bowl. Ironically, the ad comes two years after Newton was injured in a crash with – you guessed it – a Buick.

We’ll not make a big deal out of how appropriate it is for someone named Cam to advertise a car.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched program of the year, with more than 100 million viewers, but at $5 million or more for 30 seconds of air time, it’s a “very expensive gamble,” according to Torque News. Still, last year, seven carmakers spent a total of about $90 million for nine minutes of ads, according to Advertising Age, but that was down from previous years.

And, as far as Minnie Driver is concerned, Lexus has indicated her voice will return in future spots.

Just to drive home their point.