Kia's cute robot dog won the Super Bowl of car commercials

Inside look at Volvo Polestar 2

Gary Gastelu on new electric vehicle from Volvo

Six automakers shelled out an estimated $7 million per 30 seconds of commercial time during Sunday night’s Super Bowl broadcast, but some got much bigger bangs for their bucks than others, according to one key study.

Kia’s Super Bowl ad featured the EV6. (Kia)

Kia saw a 921% increase in traffic to its brand pages on the Cars.com website following the airing of its ad featuring a cute robot dog chasing Kia’s EV6 electric SUV around a city. The commercial concluding with a demonstration of how the vehicle can be used to charge other things, like the dog, which ran out of energy during the pursuit. The online marketplace’s analysis compared traffic between the eight-minute periods immediately before and after the commercials aired.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek took on the roles of ancient Greek gods Zeus and Hera to sell BMW’s cars of the future in a comic spot promoting the BMW’s iX electric SUV that earned the Bavarian automaker a 782% boost in searches.

Volvo-owned electric car brand Polestar scored another huge win with its commercial, which included several obvious swipes at Volkswagen and Tesla through quotes like "no dieselgate," "no hidden secrets," and "no conquering Mars," and pulled in a 580% increase in visits.

Toyota found success with a star-studded commercial for the redesigned Tundra pickup featuring Tommy Lee Jones, Leslie Jones, Rashida Jones and Nick Jonas that generated a 341% spike, but the Eugene Levy-led ad for the Nissan Z sports car didn’t fare quite as well at 120%, even with Brie Larson and Dave Bautista along for the action-packed ride.

General Motors had the most disappointing return on its investment percentage-wise, despite shelling out for two commercials. One reprising the opening credits sequence of "The Sopranos" with mob daughter Meadow Soprano driving the upcoming electric 2024 Chevrolet Silverado pickup produced just 58% more traffic for the company’s websites, while an "Austin Powers" Dr. Evil-themed spot barely moved the needle at 14%.

Cars.com Industry and Marketplace Analytics Principal David Greene said the numbers are still significant, as GM’s already large presence on the website diluted the effect of the commercials. However, the Dr. Evil spot increased traffic to GM’s electric vehicle-specific pages by 187% and the Soprano’s commercial resulted in 115% for Silverados, which are currently limited to internal combustion engine models.

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The result is a contrast to 2021, when GM led the way with a Cadillac ad inspired by "Edward Scissorhands" that lifted interest in the brand’s pages by 194%. Cars Media Network lead Julie Scott said nostalgia was playing well back then, while this year is more about new ideas and new concepts.

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