The Coen Brothers Return to the Super Bowl After 15 Years With This Mercedes Ad

A tribute to Easy Rider

Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Fans of the Coen Brothers can look for their work during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Joel and Ethan Coen have directed a new Super Bowl ad, their first in 15 years—a 30-second spot for the Mercedes-AMG brand, a new point of differentiation from the luxury automaker.

“We are now switching from AMG as a proof point for Mercedes-Benz performance to AMG as its own brand,” explained Drew Slaven, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA. “It’s still part of the Mercedes-Benz family—it’s called Mercedes-AMG—what we’re really beginning to do is put the AMG piece of it front and center.”

The high-energy ad is a tribute to the 1969 film Easy Rider; the film’s star, Peter Fonda; and its famed soundtrack, Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.” It will debut during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.

A 60-second extended version is below:

“[The AMG brand] is known by performance drivers but not as much by a broader community, and that’s why we went to the single best way to [introduce it to a broader audience], which is a television commercial in the Super Bowl,” Slaven said.

He added: “Peter Fonda plays a critical piece of the storyline, and he’s known as someone who still epitomizes what it is to love driving performance and the open road. … The film [Easy Rider] component goes back 48 years. We thought there was a nice parallel that was set up between the era of that and what was, in 1967, the beginnings of AMG.”

The Coens directed a spot for H&R Block in the Super Bowl 15 years ago, and one for Honda 18 years ago, according to agency Merkley + Partners, which worked on the spot with Germany agency Antoni.

For more Super Bowl LI news, check out Adweek’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.


Antoni – Germany
André Kemper, Chief Creative Officer / Founder
Dr. Tonio Kröger, Managing Partner / Founder
Marcell Francke, Creative Director
Stephan Schaefer, Creative Director
Mark Róta, Executive Producer
Guelcan Demir, Account Director
Moritz Pfingsten, Account Director

Merkley + Partners – USA
Andy Hirsch, Chief Creative Officer / Chairman
Alex Gellert, CEO
Gary Grossman, Director of Broadcast Production
Alex Kobak, Senior Producer
Diane delisa, Director of Business Affairs
Cynthia Davis, Chief Client Officer
Lisa Mannarelli-Puleo, EVP / Group Account Director
Beth Liss, Group Account Director

Production Company:
Company Films
Joel Coen, Director
Ethan Coen, Director
Dan Hainey, DP
Ron Neter, Line Producer
Robin Benson, Executive Producer
Executive Producer, Richard Goldstein
Head of Production, Ari Schneiderman

Editorial Company:
Final Cut NY
Rick Russell, Editor
Jen Sienkwicz, Producer
Sarah Roebuck, Executive Producer
UK Loading Assistant, Mike Radforth
NY Cutting Assistant, Geoff Hastings

Visual Effects:
Tom Bussell, VFX Lead
Iwan Zwarts, Lead Compositor
Daniel Morris, Compositor
Liz Lyons, Compositor
Michael Dunkey, CG FX Artist
Rotoscoping, Trace VFX
Tracking, Bogdan Mihajlovic
Megan Sweet, Producer
Charlotte Arnold, Executive Producer

Color Grading:
Company 3
Tom Poole, Colorist

“Born To Be Wild” – Steppenwolf

Audio Post:
Heard City
Phil Loeb, Sound Mixer

Trinitite Studios:
Brian Emrich, Sound Designer

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@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.