The atmospheric commercial for the Maserati Ghibli III, a high end luxury automobile that competes with the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, didn’t go over well with many Super Bowl 2014 viewers.
The ad featured 10-year old Quvenzhané Wallis, a child star who became the youngest actress to be nominated for Best Actress when she was shortlisted for her role in 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Throughout the commercial, Wallis talks about – presumably figurative – giants: “They have always been here, lumbering in the schoolyards, limping through the alleys. We had to learn how to deal with them, how to overcome them.”
“We were like a wind appearing out of nowhere. We knew that being clever was more important than being the biggest kid in the neighborhood,” Wallis continues.
“We wait until they get sleepy, wait until they get so big they can barely move, and then walk out of the shadows, quietly walk out of the dark — and strike.”
The commercial then cuts to a black Ghibli speeding loudly down a highway before fading to simple white text against a black background: “We have prepared. Now we strike.”
As the Business Insider put it, the spot was “oddly cinematic.”
The commercial appeared on several “worst of” lists. For the most part, viewers and critics just didn’t like it.
“Oh, man, this would’ve been a great ad if it were an ad for a new Cormac McCarthy novel, or maybe a promotion for the Weather Channel, or for existentialism,” Verne Gay wrote on Newsday.
“So, uh … blockbuster movie trailer? Anti-bullying ad? American gung-ho rah-rah propaganda?” wondered Jay Busbee on Yahoo Sports.
The spot may have been a little too cerebral for the Super Bowl. Or maybe viewers felt they were being duped:
That Maserati commercial just tried to pretend that the shy, underdog is usually the one who drives a Maserati.
— Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) February 2, 2014
— Jalopnik (@Jalopnik) February 3, 2014
Of course, not everyone hated the Ghibli commercial:
— Car and Driver (@CARandDRIVER) February 2, 2014
— Peter Shankman (@petershankman) February 2, 2014
In the end, it might not matter if viewers actually liked the commercial or not. Maserati’s new car is getting talked about, and that might be the truest indication of a advertising dollars well-spent:
— Networked Insights (@NetInsights) February 3, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons