Arnold Schwarzenegger first burst on the scene by willing Mr. Olympia seven times, but in BMW’s commercial for Super Bowl LVI, he’s on top of Mount Olympia and Zeus, ruler of the Greek pantheon. “My fellow gods,” says Arnie’s Zeus. “The dark skies have spoken. Enter his wife, Hera (played by Salma Hayek Pinault). “It is time for Zeus and I to retire,” she says. Poseidon asks where the two will go, and it turns out: they’re headed to Palm Springs. Zeus and his wife relocate to Southern California for some R&R, but the king of the Gods finds retirement…lacking.
After getting annoyed by neighbors hitting him up for a quick charge (and a cameo by Peggy, the world’s cutest Pegasus), Zeus takes his frustration out on the Golden State by causing a massive blackout. Granted, it’s nothing that anyone living in Los Angeles isn’t used to already, but it’s clear to Hera that her hubby needs a bit of fun. So, she gets him one of the all-new, fully electric BMW iX Sports Activity Vehicle. “I figure you could use a little pick-me-up,” she says, and the fact that it’s “all-electric” helps Zeus rediscover his mojo. Cue Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue,” and these two Greek gods go for a joyride.
“The humor lies in this legendary god of lightning, who is supposed to be indestructible, battling with everyday electronics,” said Schwarzenegger in a press release accompanying the full commercial. “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.”
“This is my first Super Bowl commercial—and the first time I’ve played a Greek goddess,” adds Hayek. “Seventy-five percent of the decisions made in 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.”
Fans knew that the funny was coming. In teasers for the commercial, Arnold took his Zeus to the unlikeliest of places…a Starbucks-style coffee shop. As an awkward barista attempted to pronounce his name write, he questioned: “Is that like the Greek god of lightning?” Stone-faced, bearded, and fitted with a gold breastplate, Arnold deadpans: “It’s exactly like that.”
Arnold first hinted at the project with a mysterious movie poster shared on his Twitter on Jan. 27, seeming to promote a movie called “Zeus” coming in February 2022. Fans who suspected the transformation maybe for a Super Bowl commercial would be proven right when Salma, 55, shared a similar promo to her Instagram indicating she would be playing the Hera to Arnold’s Zeus. Salma explained in her caption that the ad promotes BMW’s new electric iX car, the manufacturer’s first. BMW last premiered a Super Bowl commercial in 2015, which starred Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel.
With Super Bowl Sunday set for Feb. 13, teasers for the commercials set to show at this year’s event are premiering left and right. From Kevin Hart assuming the role of Sam’s Club manager to a Mila Kunis and Demi Moore link-up for AT&T, brands across the board are bringing their A-game. And in an epic ad produced by Pepsi, 2022 half-time show performers Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre come together to make stadium-sized magic happen after each artist receives a call from Dre a la The Avengers. Whether the Cincinnati Bengals or the Los Angeles Rams take home the ring is uncertain; football fans on both sides of the aisle will have to wait for the big day. But for die-hard commercial lovers and celebrity watchers, seeing the full versions of these cinematic, comedic ads will feel like winning.