Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to Be Wild’ Revs Up New Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl Ad
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For decades, advertisers have used Steppenwolf’s classic “Born to Be Wild” to connote a sense of adventurousness and rebellion in the their product. Now, the Coen Brothers have turned that idea on its head in a commercial for Mercedes-Benz that will air during the Super Bowl.
The minute-long clip, which you can see above, takes place in a biker bar, complete with a shrine to Easy Rider and a jukebox that only has one song, “Born to Be Wild,” which someone plays. The bar’s patrons have seen better days: arm wrestles stall, chains get entangled and fights end in pulled muscles. Someone puts on “Born to Be Wild” on the jukebox, which happens to be its only song, but the action gets interrupted when another person enters to say that they’ve been “blocked in.”
Everybody leaves the bar to see who’s responsible, and, in front of a handful of bikes is a Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster. Suddenly, Peter Fonda, wearing the same American flag jacket he wore in Easy Rider, walks towards the car, says, “Nice rides” to the bikers. “Still lookin’ good,” a woman says as he gets into the car and speeds off down a mountain highway, flashing the peace sign.
It’s not the first time Mercedes-Benz has roped in some major talent for professional football’s championship game. Four years ago, they introduced the CLA during the Super Bowl with Willem Dafoe, as the Devil, offering the car to a young man — and with it fame, fortune, being seen with Kate Upton and dancing with Usher — in exchange for his soul. The ad was scored to the Rolling Stones‘ “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Released in 1968, “Born to Be Wild” reach No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. A year later, it became synonymous with biker culture when it played over the opening credits of Easy Rider, which Fonda starred in, produced and co-wrote.
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