Boy do we love a good car ad. Just look at that little kid from the VW Darth Vader ads. I freaking can’t watch that ad one more damned time but the people of earth apparently can’t get enough of it.
There have been a lot of ads through the years that, the moment it runs, people don’t stop talking about it – even if they don’t remember what car is actually being sold. Here’s ten of our favorite:
Man, Nissan had some great ads in the 90s and 2000s. They were fun and spoke to a brand that knew how to have a good time. Hop in a 300ZX, drive to Barbie’s, steal her from Ken, and drive off down the hallway. It should be noted that “Toy Story” came out in 1995, so you can look to that as the inspiration behind this ad, as well as its even better follow-up ad:
Chevy’s “Like a Rock”
I owned a 2-door Chevy Tahoe several years ago. The day I bought it, I could think of no other thing to do than A) find a cassette aux adapter that I could plug my iPhone into, and B) play Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock.” Is any other line of vehicle more synonymous with such an American song?
Ford “Hill Climb” Ads
Chevy may have the smooth styling’s of one Bob Seger, but Ford has…two other trucks? While this may not quite prove anything, Ford had a flair for the dramatic when it towed a competitor’s truck up a hill, with another in the truck bed. Pretty epic.
Honda “The Cog”
This Rube Goldberg-inspired spot for the international version of the Honda Accord is a study in how to keep a viewer paying attention until the end of a TV spot. Seriously, watch that, and you’ll be tempted to watch again!
Isuzu “Joe Isuzu”
Perhaps due to the fact that, Isuzu…ya know…doesn’t sell cars in America anymore, people forget how great these ads were. He’s a sleaze ball salesman! Get it! People identify car salespeople as seedy. Such self-awareness could only come from a company constantly on the brink of failure. There were a lot of great Joe Isuzu ads through the years, but my favorite was his return to shilling cars, seen here.
RAM “The Farmer”
Chrysler had been on a roll with super bowl ads, starting with the “Imported from Detroit” campaign. But it was its Ram truck brand that had the ad that pulled at the most heart strings. The simplicity of stills, matched up to Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech, “So God Made a Farmer,” are enough to make Ken Burns jealous.
Ford “Taming the Mustang”
2005 was the first year that Ford went retro with the Mustang, kicking off an era of throwback sportscar designs from every car brand. To commemorate, Ford went all “Field of Dreams” with its debut ad. They superimposed McQueen’s likeness from Bullitt behind the wheel of a new Mustang. That’s good enough for me.
Ford GT “The One”
On second thought, why would a zombie Steve McQueen drive the 4.6-liter V8 of the Ford Mustang GT, when he could have the finger of god that is the Ford GT. There were no gimmicks to this ad– just the only true American supercar (yeah, I said it) ever built, being thrown around a track in anger.
Jeep “Snow Covered”
Funny/clever ad from Jeep in 1994. Back before car ads had to be super serious to grab people’s attention.
This is one of the greatest car ads of all time. The evolution of Formula 1 cars as displayed by six Ferrari racers through the decades. I no longer drink coffee in the morning. I just watch this ad when I wake up. I implore you to do the same.