Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Log In

It’s Time to Play Super Bowl Car Ad Bingo!

2:05 PM EST on January 31, 2020

Coord invites cities and other curb managers to apply for its Digital Curb Challenge to undertake a free curb management pilot program in 2020. Applications close on Feb. 14. Click here for information.

Super Bowl Sunday means one thing: it's time for the most aggressively stupid car commercials of the year!

The annual car culture climax inspired Transportation Alternatives' Senior Editor Jessie Singer to ask for her Twitter followers' favorite (or least favorite) car ad tropes — and the outpouring inspired the whole TransAlt team to create a Bingo/drinking game that you can play live during the commercial breaks during the epic LIV showdown pitting the Chiefs and the Niners.

Here's a classic.
Here's a classic.

"We're making jokes here, but the consequences of car ads are serious," Singer said. "Today, the nation is in a pedestrian safety crisis, with more and more killed by super-horse-powered, high-clearance SUVs and small trucks. The ads that sell those vehicles do more then glance over their danger — danger is a selling point. At the Super Bowl, we're going to see a lot of cars advertised for their ability to drive over anything and conquer any terrain, but the reality is that the only thing most of those cars will drive over is people."

(TransAlt, of course, isn't the first group to be inspired by car culture machismo. If you haven't seen this trope-filled ad for public buses, take a moment.)

Here's the Bingo card:

Courtesy of Transportation Alternatives
Courtesy of Transportation Alternatives

Scroll to the bottom for a downloadable version, and turn it into a drinking game by taking a shot every time you fill a square (if you really feel like punishing your liver).

But first, let's check out some of the highlights from the amazing thread that started it all. Here's how Jessie kicked it off:

Soon, a roster of all your favorite voices on urbanist Twitter started joining in.

The perennial "so, the rapture happened, and you didn't make the cut...but at least you can Tokyo-drift your SUV through the middle of downtown Cleveland now!" storyline got a deserved shout-out.

As did this bit of science fiction:

The classic "man (and five thousand pounds of metal) vs. wild" narrative got called out, of course:

Seriously, three rows of heated leather seats and a moon roof are not symbols of rugged individualism.

Surrealist family vacations also made the list.

As did these ads, which tells drivers it's OK not to be attentive to their surroundings, because your genius robot car will totally stop you from mowing down another human being! Never mind that the technology is kinda not perfect yet.

The only thing that might be worse is this Australian commercial, which is basically a full minute of near-misses with vehicular manslaughter set to a boppy Kids of 88 song.

Once you're done bleeding out of your eyes from watching those last two, check out these even more upsetting vintage car ads from the archives!

And just in case you missed the memo that you need to drive in order to be a Real Macho Masculine Male, Ford and friends are here to remind you.

And, of course, no list of car commercial cliches wouldn't be complete without...this guy:

Download your very own #CarAdBingo card here.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines Ask How Much a Life Is Worth

There isn't much of a financial penalty for drivers who kill pedestrians — even if those drivers are cops.

September 27, 2023

‘I’m Not Grieving Alone’: New Play Explores a Father’s Journey After Losing Two Children to Traffic Violence

Colin Campbell and his wife Gail Lerner lost both their children in a car crash with impaired driver. A new play explores how to talk about similar tragedies.

September 27, 2023

How Transit Saved Lives — And Became a Lifeline — During and After the Maui Fires

A Maui bus agency helped transport 42,000 people off the island in the wake of one of the most devastating fires in American history — and highlighted the critical role that shared modes can play not just in preventing climate-related disasters, but saving lives when they happen.

September 27, 2023

California Has to Stop Building Freeways. Now.

"People aren't used to thinking of freeways as fossil fuel infrastructure, but they are." And once built, there's no going back, no making up for the extra driving by trying to convince people that a bus or train might be a better choice - we're stuck with it.

September 26, 2023

Streetfilms Tours Emeryville, Calif., the Little City that Can

Did somebody say "encore?" Safe streets rock star John Bauters, Mayor of Emeryville, population less-than 13,000, gave Streetfilms producer Clarence Eckerson a tour of his city.

September 26, 2023
See all posts