Journal: Did These 8 Strange Car Commercials Actually Sell Cars?

Did These 8 Strange Car Commercials Actually Sell Cars?

By Michael Banovsky
August 19, 2016

For this week’s selection of classic video clips, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to ask: can a car commercial actually prevent someone from wanting a vehicle? Keep that in mind as you view these gems, which range from completely incomprehensible to cheerily daft. Would you have rushed to your local dealer after seeing one of these ads?

Malcolm Bricklin was the mind in charge of leading Subaru’s tiny 360 microcar onto U.S. shores in the ’60s, needing to establish a beachhead from which to sell into the vast North American market. This one starts off normal enough, until “high-speed” stunt driving clearly shows two future Consumer Reports-chastised lemons nearly meeting their demise.

And that slogan…

I’m pretty confident the script for this one read: 1) Catchy song. 2) ________________ 3) Profit. “Look, honey, those little Goggomobil cars move! Let’s get one!”

Not to be outdone, this eclectic, folksy ad for the Citroën 2cv will either make your ears melt from its theme tune or shock your eyes at the sight of door-less cars with kids riding on the hood (!) and old ladies knitting while driving (!!), two offences that’d be unforgivable in an ad today.

Our friends at Jalopnik named this Plymouth ad the worst of all time, 30 years on makes it a classic, right?

Quite likely, the only mark against the Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R is probably this series of completely bizarre CG-aided television commercials, which have aged as well as LaserDiscs.

Sorry for the color on this one, but you get the idea: no other car can make this sandwich.

“A dramatic combination of styling and technology…” is what the narrator said about the 1978 Ford Futura, a car that has gone down in history as having neither of those attributes. I hope the commercial’s set designer went on to bigger things, though.

I bet you weren’t ready to see the combination of Sir Jackie Stewart and Ford Pinto in the same sentence, much less a commercial.

Which classic commercial do you think was too bizarre to sell cars?

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Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito
7 years ago

1984 Corvette commercial with the driver wearing silver oven mitts is tough to beat as worst of all time.

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers
7 years ago

Pontiac “Excitement”, anyone?

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