The Truth About Cars » car advertising The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » car advertising Building An Icon Thu, 18 Apr 2013 14:40:09 +0000

The Nike Swoosh. The McDonalds Golden Arches. The Chevy Bowtie.

When you see them, you know them. Decades and billions of dollars are dedicated to make a ride on the freeway or, a walk in a park, a frequent subliminal reminder of how worthy a given brand is of your time.

Firestone is just beginning to invest in the icon you see here. What do you think?

The idea behind it is…

“You’re not driving a car, you’re driving a Firestone.”

The slogan has been enunciated, imprinted, and emblazoned on tens of thousands of advertisements over the past year. Print. Online. TV. Cable. Radio. The owners of Firestone are trying to make your used car, a Firestone car.

This is obviously a tall leap when it comes to brand identification; which is why Firestone has such a painfully challenging road for their new ‘F’ icon. For over 100 years cars have been identified by their marque. Mercedes-Benz. Cadillac. Honda. These brands not only exude a high level of awareness in the new car market, but an equally unique and compelling level of prestige in popular culture.

Mercedes symbolizes wealth. Even those who are financially struggling like to pretend they’re rich by owning one. From country clubs to rap videos. Everyone knows a Mercedes.

Cadillac is the king of American luxury. From the 1930’s when a ‘Cadillac’ referred to a gram of cocaine. To the 1960’s where a Cadillac ranch would undoubtedly have a matching Cadillac in the garage.  To even the mansions of today where a lot of folks are still willing to pay for the Cadillac of SUV’s.

Honda symbolizes Japanese engineering and enduring quality. The Honda of minivans in today’s advertising world is a mere continuation of the quality people you met 50 years ago on a Honda Scooter. Honda is quality incarnate thanks to a continuous advertising campaign that has always hammered away at that virtue.

Firestone has been popularized for their tires and their auto repair centers. Billions of tires sold. 10,000+ auto repair centers. A long winning history with NASCAR and a common sight on most rolling commercial roadfronts of the modern day, Firestone is an instantly recognizable name.

However that seems to be part of the problem. For nearly a century you needed to see the whole name to see the Firestone logo.

The full name of yesterday is now given an automotive emblem for today — along with a shift in identification from products and services for a used car, to the car itself.

Can a car wear two badges? Three? Four? If so, how can you put value into products and services that are usually catered to the non-enthusiast?

Is Firestone seeking to gradually usurp the brand identities of used cars? Or are they trying to compliment the brand identity that is already there?

I have no clear understanding of where this road leads to. At the same time, this is likely not the fault of the company or the advertising agency. It takes years of a compelling vision, endless instillations of nuance, and a change in popular culture to make a brand truly iconic.

Can Firestone ever become an iconic brand?   Or were they already there?



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Question Of The Day: What If You Created Your Very Own… Car Commercial? Fri, 01 Feb 2013 17:34:57 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Back in my college days, it seemed like every single Chrysler commercial featured a car that would morph from the old model into the new model.

Minivan morph. Neon morph. Intrepid morph. The technological transitions were quite well done, and I always enjoyed a commercial that reminded me of the movie “Terminator 2.”

But then I had a few ideas of my own…

While trapped in a long boring 300+ person lecture class, I began crafting my own Chrysler commercial using a variety of doodles and ramblings.

“Why not use the opening theme to the Asia song, “Only Time Will Tell? I always liked that song!” said the 20 year old me.

Start with a nice five second aerial zoom-in on Chrysler’s new Auburn Hills R&D facility. Then when they get the cowbell going on at second six, start taking close-ups of angles on the new vehicles with alternating shots in color and black and white.

Right around second eight, you get five or six new vehicles doing a turn-in on a race track with the waterspin effect that was all the rage for that time.

Finally, you would have a single car drive towards the camera and morph into all the new Chrysler models that were coming out. The difficulty of morphing a Viper GTS into a minivan didn’t quite register with me at that point.

After all, I was fantasizing away my time in the lecture hall. Nothing more than playing the bored version of a Monday morning quarterback.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Enthusiasts are a love it or hate it group. Zen inspired waterfalls are not our thing. Humor can be a bit touchy for those with passion, and few things receive more contention than a car commercial that doesn’t tell us about the car.

Or maybe not? Advertising is often times about the power of nuance. A seduction by a multitude of clever manipulations within a thirty second time period. Come to think of it, an auto auctioneer in my B2B wholesale auction world,  and the advertising executive of the modern day,  have far more in common than I would ever comfortably admit to.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The power to create the urgency to buy is a rare gift. So tell me about yours! Is there a commercial you had crafted up in your mind in between watching talking hamsters and truck happy dogs? If not, any favorites?

Friday is still a long day at this point. So feel free to expound on all things commercial.


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The 1969 Datsun 510: GR-R-R-ROOVY! Thu, 14 Jun 2012 15:00:48 +0000 Yesterday, I shared a Toyota Corona ad from the February 1969 issue of Playboy. I like the Corona for personal reasons, but if the Time Machine took me back to ’69 and I didn’t have a lot to spend (or even if I did have a lot to spend), the Datsun 510 would be one of my top choices. Wouldn’t you know, there’s an ad for the 510 in the very same issue!
In response to the question from a commenter on the Corona post, Miss February 1969 was Lorrie Menconi (NSFW link here), and it’s possible that she drove a Datsun 510 herself.
For reasons I don’t understand, this car is called the “Datsun /2″ in the ad, and it has those godawful non-slip bathtub flowers stuck on its rear quarter. Anyone who knows the story behind the /2 name, please fill us in. 96 horsepower and 25 MPG doesn’t look so great today, but those were decent numbers for a small car in 1969. And look: flow-thru fresh air and a stir-easy 4-speed!
1969 Datsun 510 advertisement 4- Picture courtesy of Nissan 1969 Datsun 510 advertisement 2- Picture courtesy of Nissan 1969 Datsun 510 advertisement 3- Picture courtesy of Nissan Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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When Chrysler’s Slide Shows Weren’t In PowerPoint: Pinpoint Conquesting! Mon, 07 Feb 2011 16:00:31 +0000
Back when I was semi-serious about photography— as in Pliocene Epoch photography with lots of chemicals and red lights— I scored a bunch of two-piece glass 35mm slide mounts at a camera store in Los Angeles. Most of them were empty, but a handful came with Chrysler dealership promotional slides from 1974.

This was about 1988, and so there wasn’t as much ironic distance between the era of the slides and the time of my acquisition; the slides just reeked of Chrysler’s Malaise Era desperation. I pictured the scene: a Chrysler Sales regional office somewhere in, say, Culver City. There’d be the whir and heat from the slide projector, the light beam cutting through the Pall Mall smoke, and a burly corporate axeman from Michigan trying to sound upbeat as he triggered slide after slide. Sell these goddamn Darts with the goddamn plush-cut pile carpeting, went the subtext beneath the optimistic-sounding sales talk, or the goddamn Japanese will have our asses! Cue sound of Corollas buzzing by outside…

Of course, what Dart buyers really wanted in 1974 was the Hang Ten Edition, complete with matching surfboard!

74DealerSlides-PowerwagonCutaway 74DealerSlides-Brougham 74DealerSlides-DartSpecialPlush 74DealerSlides-DodgeStrengths 74DealerSlides-PinpointConquesting2 74DealerSlides-PinpointConquesting HangTen1974DodgeDart DodgeVanModel Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 5
The TTAC Academy Ad Awards, By Popular Vote Category. And The Winners Are … Sat, 27 Mar 2010 15:57:04 +0000

With both Niedermeyers away, Friday’s heroes were Steven Lang and Cammy Corrigan. The two of them, sometimes at odds over matters of faith, saved TTAC from an otherwise assured traffic disaster, caused by the absence of our dear leaders. The two most read posts on Friday’s TTAC were Steven Lang’s review of the Kia Optima in first place, and Cammy Corrigan’s “Ask The Best And Brightest: Have A Favourite Car Ad” in a close second.

Who says there is justice in this world? Steven had to get, drive, and describe a Kia Optima. Hard work. Cammy only had to ask “what are your favourite adverts or advertising campaigns from the auto world?” And the nominations kept pouring in. At the time of this typing, there were 112 comments, most of them with a link to an ad, as required. Some incorrigibles posted without a link, shame on you, stand in the corner.

Not only were the ads posted, they were watched. Due to the work of our Canadian crack coders, we can see how many times someone clicks on a link. Data derived from the click-count are the key to the easiest to write category: “By Popular Vote.” And the winners are… (ranked from most clicked on down:)

The 1984 Little GTI won the most hearts, minds and clicks of the Best & Brightest. Credit: Green Destiny, ScottyDriver.

Second in place was a more serious one, a 420 SEL Mercedes Benz traveling on a highway outside of Melbourne, some time in the late 80s. It had a head-on collision. No fun at all. Usually, not something shown in a TV commercial. But the B&B love it. Credit: Ben.

Next in line is the Isuzu Gemini, which spawned a whole genre of car ballet commercials (to be featured in a later TTAC post.) Credit: Niky

Safety (or smashed cars, you be the judge) rank high in popularity amongst the Best and Brightest, as evidenced by the strong showing of this ad for Volvo’s insipidly named SIPS (Side Impact Protection System). Credit: Cammy Corrigan.

This ad for a Toyota Vios presaged the ghost in the machine problems of possessed Toyotas. They were just a tiny bit off: Loch Ness Monster eats man. Credit: FishTank.

Next in line is an old standby on the Youtube circuit, the lady with the fake steering wheel. It also generated a whole fake steering wheel genre, not to be featured in a future TTAC post, as most of the sequels were duds. The original actually should be disqualified, as it is not a car commercial in the true sense of the word. But we are in a weekend mode and let it slide. Credit: Pgcooldad. Extra credit for nominating it as “My all time favourite non-car car commercial.”

Next comes a classic from Doyle Dane Bernbach’s and Volkswagen’s best times. The venerable “Have you ever wondered how the man who drives a snow plough drives to the snow plough?” Credit: Wgmleslie.

Ah, the Volkswagen classics. Where would advertising be without them? The squeaky earring that needed a dab of oil won the ad many awards and VW a lot of Golf customers. Credit: PaulieWalnut.

Often discussed, but finally found by intrepid B&B searchers: The “Unpimp your ride” ad, with them men and women in white. Credit: Educatordan.

The “By Popular Vote” category starts with a Volkswagen and ends with three Volkswagens. Tribute to Wolfsburg’s great contributions to advertising. As someone who had been there for several decades, I can assure you: The tribute is not totally undeserved.

Any suggestions for tomorrow’s category? Best cute little animals? Best underage drivers? Best commercial set to boomer rock’n’roll?

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