What we like: car commercials - Select Car Leasing
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What we like: car commercials

Because they are such a visual product, cars and car manufacturers have always had a close relationship with advertising, and in particular, the TV commercial. From humble beginnings - take a trip back in time with Chevrolet's 1940 commercial - the game has changed quite dramatically. You might have seen Jeep's super bowl commercial for their brand-new Wrangler model which caught the eye for its simplicity and strong message.

It follows a steady pattern of manufacturers coming up with new and inventive ways to get drivers into their cars. Not least because the makeup of these adverts has taken a, shall we say, predictable format. Resulting in spoof's such as this excellent used car ad for a Honda Accord: so accurate in its representation it fooled some.

For this week's What We Like, we're not interested in the long aerial shots and token taglines, we're looking at the car commercials that really caught the eye.


The key is to keep it simple. You couldn't accuse Jeep of much else with their 'Anti-Manifesto' Superbowl 2018 commercial. Famously one of the most competitive advertisement segments available, as multiple big brands aim to capture the attention of an audience upwards of 100m. Jeep certainly got their message across - off-roading has never looked better before. The daring red of the Wrangler, powering head on into choppy waters with no music, a simple voiceover and clear message is all we see. The car ad at its most brutally basic and effective. 10/10. 


Part of a 600k advertising campaign, the 'GRRR' advertisement arrived on screens in 2004 and quickly became one of the most recognised on TV. Promoting their new i-CDTi diesel engines, the ad features an old, dirtier, diesel flying through a grassy landscape and leaving a wake of destruction. The tagline 'Hate Something, change something' then makes way for a cleaner diesel flying through the air, with green rolling hills. The advert's main purpose was to appeal to motorists who were against all the negative environmental impact that went hand in hand with old diesels. 

It was incredibly well received by the UK public - Honda claimed sales increased hugely following its release, with 21,766 Accord's sold in 2004 compared to just 518 the year before. 


In many ways, the ultimate anti car-ad - Audi's 'Cooling Down Advert' features no music, no drones, just pure noise. And a great noise it is, too. The best thing about this advert is that it immedeatly appeals to the wider Audi customer base - you get the raw strength and power that these vehicles have always had a repuation for, and the final message on the screen 'the unmistakable sound' is as powerful message as you can get.


Honda made a bit of a name for themselves with car ads in the early 2000s, and 'The Cog' is as inventive a commercial as you're likely to see. Essentially a chain of parts colliding which creates a reaction, the ad was based on the 'Rube Goldberg Machine' and received widespread acclaim for its quality. Produced to demonstrate the intricate design of the Accord, its release more than tripled Honda's website traffic for the following month and kickstarted improved sales for the brand in the UK. Silent all the way through, the ad was seen as revolutionary as it broke away from the traditional format of a car ad. It's also capped off by a great tune in 'Rappers Delight' by the Sugarhill Gang as the full Accord car is unveiled. 


This is a big call out to other brands, the likes of which we don't see as much on our shores. But it is by all accounts, absolutely brilliant. Referencing the famous Godfather scene, the head of the champion racehorse 'Khartoum' which is placed inthe bed is replaced by the grille of a Rolls Royce. The advert was taken as a dig and a "out with the old, in with the new" that Audi were attempting to promote for their new R8 model. It's cheeky and its out there, but it gets our seal of approval. 


Bit more difficult to describe, this one. Intended to demonstrate the ehanced comfort of Mercedes Intillegent Drive 'Magic Body Control'. Does watching a chicken for 52 seconds make you want a Mercedes? Probably, to be fair. 


This advert is actually a bit of genius when you think about it. Intended to show that a classic car can function in the modern age with a readjustment and renovation, VW employed the classic film of Gene Kelly strutting his stuff from the 1952 classic 'Singing in the Rain'. The dancing has been turned up a notch though, to some more modern moves from the great actor. All intended to show how well the Golf GTI functions in the modern world. Clever. 


The message in this one is clear, the Fabia isn't just thrown together - it's lovingly prepared and served to the customers. This is demonstrated perfectly in the preparing of a cake and the tagline "The new Fabia. Full of lovely stuff." While the Fabia is obviously a good car, it also looks pretty good in cake form,but this was sadly never brought out for release.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024