By on October 4, 2013

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In a rather promotional feeling interview with Bloomberg, comedian and noted car collector Jerry Seinfeld discusses his growing relationship with Honda Motor’s Acura brand. Last year’s Super Bowl featured an ad for the upcoming revival of the NSX sports car scripted by Seinfeld himself, with a cameo from Jay Leno, riffing off of the two comics’ reputation as serious collectors. More recently Acura has become the sole sponsor of Seinfelds popular “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” webcasts. Jerry told the news agency that in general he’s not a fan of car advertising.

Seinfeld said, “For the most part, car advertising is a total turnoff to the consumer; I think it needs a complete reboot. It’s too commercial-y and fear-based. Stop showing us the cars driving through the desert.”

Seinfeld thinks that auto companies shouldn’t focus on product in their advertising, but rather getting consumers to like them.

“Don’t sell me your product, sell me you,” said Seinfeld. “You’re trying to make people like you. You don’t have to sell them your product. You have to make them like you.”

So if Jerry doesn’t like how automotive advertising is “too commercial-y” one can’t help but wonder if the wisecracking comedian has offered his opinion to Acura on their high concept “Made for Mankind” commercial that somehow equates owning a MDX crossover with humanity’s eternal quest for knowledge and adventure. I suppose that it sort of fits into Seinfeld’s notion of selling the brand, not the product, but the ad takes itself so sonorously seriously, that it’s easy to imagine Jerry’s reaction to something like “If your quest is to built the world’s smartest luxury SUV for mankind, you must hold yourself to the standard of mankind”. Really?

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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 get a parallax view 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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25 Comments on “Acura Pitchman Jerry Seinfeld: Car Advertising “Too Commercial-y”. Really?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    And what’s the deal with Audi? It sounds too much like an audit. And who likes an audit? Only the IRS, that’s who. And the giant grilles? Do you need that much airflow? I mean, who are these people?!

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Wasn’t it the original commercial for Infiniti and the Q45 that had no cars in it? How’d that work out for them? Acura is a meaningless brand. They are just luxury package Hondas and they always have been. There’s no heritage there, nothing to build on. Honda might race, and they can slap an Acura badge on their race cars if they want to, but you can’t make yourself Porsche or Ferrari by doing that.

    Infiniti and Lexus are similar recent inventions, and Lexus in particular still sells plenty of luxury package Toyotas. At least with those two though there’s some there there. Infiniti is striving to be the Japanese BMW, while Lexus is the reliability brand. What’s Acura? They aren’t defined by anything. They aren’t as reliable as Lexus, and they are nowhere near as sporty as Infiniti. Most of their cars are FWD. It seemed like they were trying to build on something with SH-AWD, until they decided that was too hard and largely abandoned it.

    In my mind, Acura is laziness. Acura is just now rolling around to 6-speed automatics and (still SOHC) direct injected engines. Wow! Welcome to the world of 2005 with your “smartest” luxury SUV. Everybody else has been here for almost a decade.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      their luxury packages still are better than the “heritage” Cadillac or Lincoln or whatever Chrysler has. Oh wait Chrysler doesn’t even have luxury (unless you count Chrysler rental queens)

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        I think a new 300 with the luxury group and leather wrapped dash is a heck of a lot nicer inside than any cold, antiseptic Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          this may well be…they sure improved (honestly, there was no way to get worse) but in this case the heritage is the rental Sebring I drove 10 years ago. So yes, in this case Acura has the better heritage.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Acura? Heritage?

            A heritage of emaciated wapanese drifting their 1800cc buzzboxes through the Walmart parking lot. The collective delusion that a Civic with VTEC is a race car because VTEC yo!

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            @HerrKaLeun

            Nothing like bringing up an experience you had, 10 years ago, with a mid-sized family car during a “discussion” about luxury cars.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Funny, Acura has the best residual value of any luxury brand.
      https://www.alg.com/press-releases/honda-and-acura-rank-highest-in-algs-14th-annual-residual-value-awards/

      • 0 avatar
        alexndr333

        It must be their rarity in the used car marketplace. They are probably desirable as dependable used Hondas with chrome noses to CPO buyers, but so few sell new that the price of used stays high.

      • 0 avatar
        romanjetfighter

        They tend to have the cheapest cars, too. Cheap cars have less depreciation to depreciate.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>They tend to have the cheapest cars, too. Cheap cars have less depreciation to depreciate.<<

          You realize that comment makes no sense, since depreciation is a %.

          Luxury marks like Jag and Range Rover depreciate so quickly because they are so repair prone and expensive to maintain.

          Acura is the opposite.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Real luxury cars depreciate so fast because their product is their price and that doesn’t transfer to the second owner. Ford Escapes sold as Range Rovers, row upon row of 4 cylinder BMWs leased by people who don’t even know which wheels are driven, the cars are incidental.

        Of course Acura (and Infiniti right behind them) has better residuals, their cars don’t have that ephemeral vanity priced in to begin with.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Seinfield has reruns, Acura is an also-ran.

    • 0 avatar
      bridgy

      Yes Acura is a glorified Honda……….and you’d probably do better to go with Honda. My 2008 MDX has been nice …and the local dealership has been pretty decent. The issue …..we are now in need of our 3rd 6 cd disc changer. Seems no one plays CD’s anymore and as this is the wifes chariot….we are no exception …..’cept CD’s my kids get at drama camp, choir rehearsal and such…..ummmmmmmmm yeah your MDX wont play those. Hands free blue tooth kept draining my battery as it was always on. 250$ just to remove it ……went to a cetain website that is a purveyor of DIY webposts and removed it in 10 min. it was super hot. Lots of nagging interior pieces and parts have been an issue ..most repaired under warrenty……..seems ‘ol Acura has become the victim of decontenting…………………and that is the standard of mankind ….and we are all guilty of it …….

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @bridgy

        The problem with your analogy is that the MDX’ Honda equivalent, the Pilot, has a depressingly cheap looking/feeling interior, and if the 2013 MDX’ interior weren’t busy putting it to shame already, the 2014′s certainly would.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Jaloponik linked an old 90′s ad for the Honda Prelude of the time, it went into detail as to why Honda was an exciting company and why you should be interested in them, and at that point made me actually want an early 90′s Prelude.

    Jerrys new NSX ad just felt like it could’ve worked for any supercar, in fact it wasn’t even about the car so much as the antics of celebrities. Amusing yes, but I have no interest in the Audi R…NSX thing they advertised.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Car commercials have zero influence on my buying decisions. Manufacturers and dealers should be grateful for this since I find their advertising to be devoid of meaningful content and audibly irritating. I see a good car commercial about once per decade. The few good ones focus on something relevant to the car. Some of them are clever, too. Four that I remember are:

    Trans-Am Camaro hauling ass on an empty road course. You could tell the driver was trying hard. The tail comes out a bit as he accelerates out of a fast corner.

    Porsche’s Rip Van Winkle ad for the Boxster. Old man wakes up after a multi-decade nap and goes for a drive in his 550. He meets a young man driving a new Boxster. Each is impressed by the other’s car. Point of the ad is Porsche’s heritage.

    Carrera4 moving briskly on a winding road during a rain storm. The car can safely keep going during adverse conditions.

    Honda Civic on a clock face. Car rotates like the second hand. Message is clock-like precision. Ad itself is silly but I liked the sound track.

    A Mercury print ad I remember from the 1970s said their cars were designed for people who think the car should do most of the driving. I just used it to put down the Infiniti Q50′s Technology Package because of all the safety nannies it contains.

  • avatar
    AJ

    Those are great Seinfeld videos. The one with Mel Brooks is funny. Thanks for the link.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    I agree with Seinfeld that ” for the most part, car advertising is a total turnoff to the consumer “. However the reason they are so is the opposite, they are NOT about the cars.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Aren’t all commercials a little too “commercial-y”? Simply by their nature…

    So car commercials and ads aren’t as cool as they used to be but then every generation ends up thinking that. I remember getting into a stack of old National Geographic magazines as a kid and seeing the late 70s early 80s ads that were in there.

    GM ads all looked like they were shot by ex-Playboy photographers, very hazy very soft focus, talking about how the cars made you feel. The Japanese ads were very technical like blue prints and talked about the engineering virtues of their cars. A recall a few Chrysler ads with Iaccoca’s attitude of “we’re back bitches! Now try a K-car.”

    I pay very little attention to car advertising except paying attention to what is “available”. Oh the 2014s must be out now. Oh the Cruze diesel is out because the dealers are advertising them.


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