Journal: 11 Modern Commercials That Are Already Legendary

11 Modern Commercials That Are Already Legendary

By Michael Banovsky
April 13, 2016

What’ll it take to get you to walk into a car dealership? Decades ago, not much—a radio ad, a jingle, maybe a well-punctuated classified ad. Now, however, automakers are hiring “drift mobs,” recreating Ayrton Senna’s most famous performances, and proving that bad weather will never get in the way of having a good time.

Here are some of our favorite modern car commercials—what are yours?

I could have chosen from several award-winning Honda commercials, but using technology to resurrect one of Ayrton Senna’s most notable qualifying performances is without question the best 1m30 you’ll spend on YouTube today.

Honda took the telemetry from his lap, combined it with the piercing sound from the McLaren MP4/5’s Honda RA109-E 3.49-litre V10 engine, placed speakers around its Suzuka Circuit, and hit “play”. If it gives you chills sitting at home, just imagine hearing that haunting sound on the day it was filmed.

Try as they may, manufacturers often have difficulty linking past to present. As Ferrari and Shell proved during the 60th anniversary of their partnership, all you need is a truck full of vintage Formula 1 cars, the cooperation of local governments from around the world, and one bemused gas station attendant. 

The secret to good advertisements is having good products. The Cayman GT4, left, and the 911, right, are certainly good products—and their commercials are as epic as you’d expect. In our minds, the 911 commercial on the right should be required viewing for anyone who’d like to take a Porsche home…

I consider any marketing materials—even YouTube clips—to be “commercials” for car brands, especially when that brand has no TV commercials. This is a 0-186 mph-0 run in the Koenigsegg One:1 uploaded to the marque’s channel and titled, “Full noise edition”.

Watch the driver’s hands…

BMW is another company with a long line of great ads, with these two as some of our most recent favorites. Yes, we’ve covered the “Hire” series before, and yes, BMW really did hire a “mob” of professionals to impress onlookers around a massive traffic circle.

This is exactly how we imagine Formula 1 drivers behave away from the track, right?

Is this no-computers-needed stunt “modern” enough? Of course—what would the car market be like without the success of all-wheel-drive systems like Audi quattro?

This commercial has been shot and re-shot a number of different times, with different taglines depending on where it’ll be aired. I suppose that Mercedes-Benz is saying its 4Matic all-wheel-drive is a win-win-win-win…

It’s only a car, right? Right.

What’s your favorite modern car commercial?

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2 years ago

Probably too old to be considered but still one of my favourite adverts.

2 years ago

Your Honda link doesn’t work so I would suggest this one

Leonard Go
Leonard Go(@leonard_go)
2 years ago

Not only a great ad, but getting banned is always a plus when it comes to advertising:

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers(@brown76)
5 years ago

I enjoyed Audi’s “Welcome Back” advert when Porsche returned to Le Mans.

Not sure if this one counts as a modern commercial, but I have a nostalgic spot for it.

DROP TABLE(@roflchopper)
5 years ago

I always liked this porsche 944 one.

5 years ago

This series of videos has dealt a sequence of swift blows to my emotions. I am on the verge of tears. Thank you!

Mihkel Külaots
Mihkel Külaots(@mihkel-kulaots)
5 years ago

For me the ultimate car ad has been Ford GT – “The One”

Tane Hopu
Tane Hopu(@tane-hopu)
5 years ago
Sean Sims
Sean Sims(@mcseanerson)
5 years ago

I really liked this Porsche “Compete” one.
One thing is it really captures is racing is more about being the best version of yourself than it is about being better than everyone else.

The other thing is there is a really great breakdown of how they filmed this if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

5 years ago
Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

None of the above !

All are CGI’d [ or severely edited ] manufactured hype . Especially the McLaren one ! The genuine irony there is that Hamilton turned down the offer of a new McLaren .. choosing to use his own money to purchase a Pagani Zonda 760RS LH instead . The the quote he let loose when asked why was ;

” I drive an overly technology assisted automatic at work . I want to have fun when I’m driving my personal car on the road ”

As far as my favorite modern automotive related commercials ? The first run of Michelin’s animated series . The juxtapositions between the scenes and the minute details were a joy to behold

5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Except Mr. Hamilton owns a McClaren P1. But you knew that because you seemingly know all.

5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger