Where do Greek gods and goddesses retire to when they’re done calling the shots from Mount Olympus? Why not sunny and beautiful Palm Springs, California? In the case of Zeus, the Greek god of lightning, and his wife Hera, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek Pinault respectively, the Coachella Valley is the destination, but easing into retirement isn’t as effortless as it should be for Zeus. Frustrated by his interactions with consumer electronics and his neighbors, who have a way of consistently interrupting him while floating in the pool or lining up a putt on the greens when they need a quick jolt of power, Zeus isn’t finding retirement the recuperative respite that it should be.
That is, until Hera finds the perfect solution to her husband’s retirement crisis, which comes in the form of the new BMW iX. Clearly energized by the prospect of the all-electric powerhouse that is the iX, the story concludes with Zeus and Hera driving through their desert enclave, while Zeus gives the red traffic lights in front of them a zap with a bolt of lightning from his fingers to turn them green so they can keep rolling.
This is the synopsis of BMW’s first Super Bowl ad in seven years. The 60-second spot aired during the third commercial break of the first quarter of yesterday’s game, and today, a longer two-minute director’s cut version was posted to the BMW USA YouTube channel.
“The humor lies in this legendary god of lightning, who is supposed to be indestructible, battling with everyday electronics,” said Schwarzenegger. “It is only when his brilliant wife presents him with the gift of an all-electric BMW iX that Zeus is struck with the mighty power of electricity and is completely rejuvenated.”
Although Schwarzenegger seems like the default choice for playing a Greek god, promoting an all-electric SAV represents a change for the world renowned actor who was once known for driving an array of Hummers and Humvees, and chomping on a burning cigar. Regardless, Schwarzenegger and the BMW iX seem like perfect fit, especially when him and Hayek Pinault are belting out the lyrics to Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue from behind the wheel.
“This is my first Super Bowl commercial—and the first time I’ve played a Greek goddess,” said Hayek Pinault. “Seventy-five percent of the decisions made in a marriage about where to spend the money are made by women, and in this commercial, it is the woman who decides on the right car to get her husband back on track. Of course, the commercial is entertaining, but there is also a real human truth to it.”
The ad was dreamed up by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated director Bryan Buckley. Goodby Silverstein & Partners serves as BMW’s foremost U.S. creative agency, and Buckley has had a hand in more than 65 Super Bowl commercials over the years.
“All-electric mobility is at the very heart of the BMW brand,” said Jens Thiemer, senior vice president, customer and brand, BMW AG. “There is no better place to make this statement than in front of one of the largest television audiences in the world, where viewers tune in as much for the commercials as they do for the game. With Arnold and Salma, we are able show the world the new BMW iX in a memorable and impactful way.”
Check out the full two-minute director’s cut of the Super Bowl ad and a behind the scenes look below.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG. Video courtesy BMW USA on YouTube.]