How a Super Bowl Ad Combines Humor and Nostalgia to Tackle a Difficult Topic

Did you catch that knee-slapper ad about climate change? Mixing humor and current events in an ad is risky. But the Super Bowl — oops, Big Game — is a safe space for advertisers to (try to) be funny. If the spot works, the advertiser enjoys mega impressions, engagement, and maybe even a boost in sales. If the ad flops, hey, it’s the Super Bowl, and in the long run, who’s really keeping score amid the blizzard of ads? General Motors understands this reality, which is why GM didn’t shy away from climate change in a new spot that re-unites the cast of Austin Powers.

In the ad, Dr. Evil (Mike Meyers) needs help to keep the world from deteriorating if he is to have a society to control. He takes over GM and ushers in a new era of electric vehicle production to save the earth for his ultimate dominion. Oh, and if you’re paying attention, Dr. Evil name checks En Vogue and their 1992 hit song, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It).”

The ad works for one reason: nostalgia. By invoking Austin Power, GM is targeting the Millennial generation that is old enough to remember the 1997 hit movie (and its sequels). The shout-out to En Vogue underscores the ’90s vibe. Millennials are a sizable population, and older Millennials are reaching peak purchasing power.

Is the ad funny? Your mileage will vary. Is the ad nostalgic? No question. Humor does not always sell. But nostalgia usually does.

--

--

--

Writer and pop culture lover.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

3 Reasons Influencers Marketing Is Your Greatest Gift For Holiday Campaigns

The Top 3 Of The Best Digital Marketing Strategies For Startups

On Zero-Party Data and the dangers of consent-based Marketing

Supercharge Your Brand Story, Part 1: Choose Your American Values With Care

5 CSR Tips So You Can Start Giving Back This New Year

Four reasons your website is not selling at its full potential

Talk in ‘their’ language.

Hand to Hand Marketing.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
David Deal

David Deal

Writer and pop culture lover.

More from Medium

Global Minimum Taxation Deal To Impact Multinational Enterprises by 2023

Blue Sky Democracy, Part 12: Reworking public election funding

(Ab)use of Copyright law as the tool of choice for censorship and reputation management

2021 Austin Film Critics Association Award Nominations