Sometimes to look forward you must first look back, at least that’s part of the philosophy contained in BMW’s Super Bowl XLIX commercial. It’s been four years since the German automaker has advertised during the big game, but this time it’s not delivering a chest-thumping message punctuated by the roar of an M3’s engine. Instead, the company is using the prime advertising spot to push its all-electric i3 and the quiet revolution the car is signaling.
Many consumers are barely even aware of the i3, while others might dismiss it as a funky-looking car for environmental weirdoes. Many wrongfully assume the car is “another hybrid” like the Toyota Prius. BMW is obviously aware of the confusion, because it pokes fun at it with the help of Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel.
You likely don’t remember when Couric and Gumbel were baffled by that new thing called “The Internet” during a broadcast in 1994. A clip of their response to the “@” symbol on live television is at the beginning of the ad, which of course is designed to make everyone laugh heartily at the ignorance and lack of foresight the broadcasters displayed back then.
As they say, hindsight is always 20/20, which is the other part of the message. Couric and Gumbel are then shown driving around present-day New York City in an i3. Gumbel is puzzled by the lack of an engine in the car and the fact that it doesn’t use fuel, because as we all know those are just givens with any vehicle. BMW also highlights that the all-electric i3 is made using wind power, which is equally as baffling, because everyone knows that generating electricity must generate pollution.
The commercial is a brilliant. In only 60 seconds BMW puts into perspective how ridiculous people look as they try to argue that electrified vehicles are headed nowhere. One day, we will all look back at 2015 and wonder how anyone could have not seen the writing on the wall, just like how back in 1994 many thought the Internet was a ridiculous toy.