Listen closely to Hyundai’s Super Bowl commercial and you’ll hear the familiar riffs of the Standells’ “Dirty Water.”
The clip was created to promote the Sonata’s “smart park” ability, a hands-free function that allows the car to park and un-park itself without a driver. For comedy purposes, Hyundai decided to set the ad in Boston, where the regional accent naturally leads the function to be called “Smaht Pahk.”
New England born celebrities John Krasinski, Chris Evans and Rachel Dratch star in the clip. Krasinski, best known as Jim from The Office, is seen fitting his Sonata into a tight space thanks to the vehicle’s impressive function. Evans (Captain America) and Dratch (Saturday Night Live) are impressed by the maneuver, and proceed to follow up with plenty of questions (many of which accentuate that charming Boston twang). A cameo from Boston Red Sox legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz completes the clip, with the Standells’ “Dirty Water” bringing the commercial to a close. Check out the spot in its entirety below.
Originally released in 1965, “Dirty Water” was inspired by the then-polluted Boston Harbor. The song, written by Standells producer Ed Cobb, would eventually become the highest charting single of the band’s career, peaking at No. 11 in 1966. Since then it has become one of New England’s most beloved tracks, regularly playing after victories by Boston’s professional sports teams.
“Dirty Water” has also been covered by numerous artists, including Celtic punk rock band Dropkick Murphys and Red Sox pitcher-turned-musician Bronson Arroyo, both of whom have ties to Boston.