By on May 22, 2013

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When was the last time you saw a major car company do something silly in a commercial? No, not like that Lincoln ad made from Tweets curated by Jimmy Fallon, I mean something deliberately silly. There may be more recent ones but  Isuzu’s “Joe Isuzu” ad campaign is the most recent one that I can think of and that was so long ago that when young people see Joe’s I-Mark ads on YouTube they must ask, “Isuzu sold cars? I thought they just sold trucks “

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I suppose that Chevy is sort of trying with their current ads that seek to emulate the look and feel of The Office sitcom, only staged in a Chevy dealership, not a paper company sales office. Of course local dealers will still do schtick to get your attention. Few, though, get as surreal as the series of  ads that the Firesign Theater made for Jack Poet VW back in the day when sunshine was orange.

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So what’s your favorite silly car commercial. Manufacturers’ ads, like the long form commercial for the 1955 Ford Fairlane models at the top of this post, starring comedian Ernie Kovacs and his wife, singer Edie Adams, are preferred, but if you know of a particularly silly (or surreal) ad for a dealership, feel free to share the URL.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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34 Comments on “Silly Car Commercials...”


  • avatar

    Hamsters driving a toaster while blasting “This or That”

    >

    E-class smashing through glass window.

  • avatar

    Ford’s Taurus commercial was completely ripped off by Infiniti.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I’ve had a soft spot for Nissan’s Dogs Love Trucks/Barbie-G.I.Joe ads. They didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously. Since then both Ford and Subaru have seen dog people as a heretofore untapped car market.

  • avatar

    Not quite as old as Joe Isuzu, but the commercials for the 300Z showing it as a remote controlled car in a room full of toys. Van Halen blasting and if I remember correctly, a disgruntled Ken doll after Barbie gets picked up by GI Joe?

    Also like the Chevy ads w/ Santa Claus as a salesman and the truck buyer says he likes to deer hunt.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Love the Z ad. That one was promoted first during the ’93 SuperBowl. It was also during that awkward elderly Japanese gentlemen, ah, cliche, shilling the Nissan Hardbody pickup by stating, “Dogs. Love. TRUCKS!”.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Didn’t you guys in the U.S. get the Subaru sumo car-wash team?

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0EVNDnvnAHs&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0EVNDnvnAHs

  • avatar
    mkirk

    What about that Mercury commercial a few years back where they are in a courtroom and the guy proclaims “She was out all night with the Grand Marquis” and then it cuts to the Louis XVI looking dude.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    A turntable in the back of a 1960’s Ford Galaxie 500 as it drove along and the needle never skipped,

  • avatar
    ixlar8

    Wait a second! At the tail end of the Silly Ford commercial, the announcer lauds an automatic top raiser as an option on 1955 Ford converts!! I remember having to make a switch using an aspirin tablet on a metal plate that I copied out of a Poplar Mechanics mag for my 59 Plymouth! Did Ford actual have such an option in 55??

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      They may have planned to make it available in 55, but I think it took a year or two to make it to market. My Mom’s second husband had a Fairlane (58 I think) with a retractable hardtop. He hated it. Used up the trunk, and he described it as “Good when it worked, roughly any day that didn’t end in Y.”

  • avatar
    Jason Lombard

    Joe Isuzu? I thought that was Randy Pobst!?! /oldjoke

  • avatar
    kjb911

    My favorites are the 5 vs 8 and spy hunter commercials for the G8, besides that the Jeep Liberty ad with the animals singing neil diamond is worth a chuckle…I thought the Kia Forte robot one was just plain stupid.

  • avatar
    JoelW

    As for dealership-specific ads as opposed to manufacturer ads, just search “Trunk Monkey” on YouTube and see what you get. Seriously…

  • avatar
    skor

    The black and tan convertible makes me want to reach for a black and tan.

  • avatar
    Good ole dayz

    Not necessarily “silly” (though some might have considered them so), but definitely entertaining, were the 1970’s FIAT “Remy Jullienne” stunt driver ads. Chase scenes with FIAT flying from rooftop to rooftop; down stairways; and through an open boxcar of a moving train. Great stuff!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Good lord ~

    I lived near that VW Dealer back then & drove VW’s but didn’t own a TV so I wasn’t aware the Firesign Theater made TV commercials ! .

    I have most of their records from way back then .

    Ernie Kovacs was classic , always was .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    kuponoodles

    +1 on Nissan 300zx Barbie Ken GI Joe/Indiana Jones
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8QKK5IDSXE

    Nissan Maxima Top Gun Pigeon pooper
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=74SvoHgW5MA

    Any car commercial with Boobs.
    Nissan Pathfinder
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Bj8pM07OI
    Toyota Corolla
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HIcZBI5uM8

    or killing
    Ford Ka
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dzi_8Rscfs

    or cops and robbers
    chevy impala
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzZFD86K4Rs

    chevy malibu
    >>www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrULS4fS6FU

    .
    .

  • avatar
    Bluto

    Is being a legit racist still working out for you, Ronnie?

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “Isuzu sold cars? I thought they just sold trucks “

    Love when some ‘know it all’ 20 something gets schooled. [But then I was once that age, lol]

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    The VW GTI in a tree is still good watching.

    “http://youtu.be/yr5ni-5U7UM”

  • avatar
    smallenginesmakemesad

    Dammit, now I want a ’55 Ford wagon.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe I’m going to win this thread so late in the game, but I am. Friends, I give you Garrison Keillor singing a little song called “Hate Something Change Something” over the silliest animation you will ever see in a car commercial. Hamsters? This ad has bow-shooting earmuff-wearing bunnies as a throwaway gag.

    http://youtu.be/RTdMDZth8SU

    (The only reason nobody remembers it is it’s a UK-only ad for Honda’s new diesel motor, and it’s about 9 years old.)

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Not really an ad, but a parody of Ford Granada ads…who can forget the Royal Deluxe?

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7ms5l_saturday-night-live-royal-deluxe-ii_fun#.UZ3rJxzcFOg

  • avatar

    My favorite car dealer ad: Cuban Gynecologist and American Used Car Salesman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b5CKSqlz60

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I am personally fond of this one for the Chameleon XLE…

    http://cabridges.com/2011/05/10/one-of-my-favorite-snk-commercials-the-chameleon-xle/

  • avatar
    CamryStang

    Nobody mentioned VW’s “Unpimp Ze Auto” series?

  • avatar
    Reino

    The Lexus commercials that roll around Christmas, where some rich GQ-model looking guy surprises his trophy wife with a new RX with a red bow on it. She is completely ecstatic about it despite never driving it.
    (No married man in his right mind would even buy his wife a $30 dress without her picking it out.)

  • avatar
    cout

    I don’t think anyone will ever beat the cuban gynecologist:


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