EV Ads, GHG Emissions From Jets, & More: It’s Super Bowl Weekend

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Kickoff for the 2024 Super Bowl LVIII is scheduled for 6:30 pm ET today on CBS and on streaming channels. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will face off in the big game, but, as with so many things in our popular culture-saturated society, action worth watching is taking place off the field, too.

The Ever Popular Super Bowl Commercials for Electric Vehicles

For the second consecutive year, the average cost of a 30-second ad spot during the Super Bowl was $7 million.

Together, the Super Bowl’s ads are an annual snapshot of the economic and social moment in the country, says Ethan Heftman, a vice president of agency sales at Ampersand, an ad consortium owned by Comcast, Charter, and Cox. “As long as you have new industries — auto, cellular, tech companies — there’ll always be brands seeking that broad awareness.”

Yet there is no consumer opportunity guaranteed to reach more people than the Super Bowl. It’s the single sure bet today in television advertising — you’ll reach the audience you seek if you land a slot during the Super Bowl. CBS sold out its ad spots in a matter of weeks in November, as the Super Bowl excitement begins in the weeks leading up to the game. The wow factor rises exponentially as the actual day of the event approaches.

Super Bowl advertisements have generated lots of hype over the years for automakers about their new car and truck models. With many automotive companies cooling their expenditures this year to preserve profit margins, however, Super Bowl LVIII commercials don’t quite hold quite the allure of years past. That means fewer automotive commercials at the Super Bowl on average, and we’ll have to wait at least one more year for a robust lineup of competing EV commercials — fewer automakers this year are focusing on their battery-electric or even plug-in hybrid models.

Three automakers have used the big Super Bowl stage to cast extra shine on their newest EVs.

BMW is teasing new hybrid and electric models of the 5 Series sedan with the debut of an ad starring Christopher Walken; he’s pestered as he runs errands by people trying to attempt to imitate his voice. This 60-second advertisement for the 100% electric BMW i5 has been accompanied by a pre-game teaser titled “Singing” that features Walken driving the electric BMW i5 while listening to USHER’s hit song, “Yeah!” Usher is today’s halftime performer. The BMW i5 was named the 2024 Car of the Year in Denmark.

Volkswagen is in on the Super Bowl EV action. “An American Love Story” is a vivid, nostalgic tour of the brand’s 75-year history in the US, beginning with the arrival of the first Type 1 vehicles — fondly nicknamed “The Beetle” —  and moving onto Herbie the Love Bug and eventually to Volkswagen’s ID. Buzz, a vehicle that will be released later in 2024. The company says the ID. Buzz will “further usher in the brand’s commitment to electromobility — and next 75 years of history.”

But Kia takes the hands-down win for the best EV — and probably best overall — SuperBowl commercial. The commercial has been termed a “heartwarming,” “emotional,” and a “perfect 10” EV9 commercial. Here’s the scene: Grandpa, who is a wheelchair user, cannot attend his granddaughter’s ice skating championship. So she skates across a well-lit frozen pond while her granddad looks on from inside his home. The scene is so fully illuminated because of the Kia EV9’s vehicle-to-infrastructure bidirectional power capability.

The EV9 was recently named North American Utility Vehicle of the Year and is the symbol of Kia’s commitment to sustainable mobility. A TikTok integration invites Super Bowl fans to use the platform’s Duet feature to post their own success story while the grandpa from the ad appears to watch and celebrate the moment. The brand partnered with 8 influencers who will post their own Duets.

Door Dash has jumped on the automakers’ bandwagon with a sweepstakes where the vehicles advertised during tonight’s game will be awarded to lucky winners.

Patrick, Brock, & the Jets

Around 1000 or more jets are expected in Las Vegas this weekend for the Super Bowl extravaganza. And that means a lot of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The emissions levels of a mega-event like this from air traffic, and the energy use is at least double in a day than it would be on average,” Benjamin Leffel, an assistant professor of public policy sustainability at the University of Nevada, told the New York Times. Onlookers are taking bets whether Super Bowl # will surpass the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix in November, 2023 and its reported 927 business jet arrivals at the city’s 3 area airports.

The activist group Greenpeace states that the average carbon emissions of a private jet flight in Europe in 2022 was 5.9 tons of CO2, more than driving an average internal combustion engine (ICE) car for 23,000 kilometers (14291 miles), or driving from Paris to Rome 16 times.

This may change a bit when Brightline West, a high speed electric rail line connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas in just over 2 hours, opens in 2028. High speed rail is electrically powered and can run 100% on clean, safe renewable energy. One high speed train powered by the wind can carry more passengers than 9 oil-burning, carbon-spewing airplanes.

The NFL & Sustainability Measures

Large scale sporting events incur significant environmental consequences due to their sheer size. The league created the program NFL Green to address the environmental impact of their major sporting events. The initiative leads community projects that restore ecosystems and habitats. These include activities such as tree planting, wildlife habitat restoration, and reforestation projects to plant thousands of trees. In addition to ecosystem restoration, green energy plays a significant role in NFL Green’s efforts. Annually, the NFL procures Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) matching the total energy consumption at its events. This strategy enables the NFL to offset the energy usage and GHG emissions associated with its major sporting events.

Since its beginning in 1993, NFL Green has earned recognition for the Super Bowl as the greenest professional sports event in the US. However, that leading position among the majors still leaves a lot of room for environmental improvement.

In the lead-up to the Super Bowl, there were a total of about 4 billion digital ad impressions. To put that in perspective, Carbon Credits asks you to envision that 1 million ad impressions is equal to 1 metric ton of CO2 or its equivalent. Using that data, the 4 billion ad impressions generated 4,000 metric tons of CO2e.

The construction of new football sports infrastructure, sanitation upgrades, increased energy demands, and waste management also weigh heavily on the environment. So, while we’re enjoying the final NFL game of the 2023-2024 season today, we also have to keep pushing for zero emissions and much more waste reduction.


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