The Booth Babe Chronicles: The Song And Dance Of Car Commercials

The Booth Babe
by The Booth Babe
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Music and scents. That’s what surrounds me during my work at car shows. The music tries to drown out the display next door. The ladies, gentlemen, even the cars in the booth are carefully perfumed. (There are other scents … but let’s not go there.) Nothing evokes a greater emotional response than music and scents. Retail establishments have figured out how to get to you via your nose and ears for years. Until Smell-O-Vision is actually rolled out, TV advertising has to be content with the music side of things. Luckily, most auto manufacturers know exactly how to push our buttons with a great tune. Here are some of my personal faves.

(Double play bonus: Clicking on the song title gets you to the original song – except for one.)

This commercial for the Cadillac SRX didn’t make me go out and buy a crossover, but it did make me get on iTunes and download the Phoenix album. It’s so good that one YouTube commenter said, “This car should come with the song pre-installed in it. Why? So you can drive down the road pretending your [sic] in the commercial.”

“1901” by Phoenix

VW has a huge hard-on for Wilco, as evidenced by no less than five songs used in their commercials (and I don’t think that count is accurate; it is definitely not less but could be more). In fact, the band and VW used the album Sky Blue as a joint marketing effort in 2007 as means to their own ends.

“Sky Blue Sky” by Wilco

I swear I’m not a shill for Lincoln (I don’t even rep them at the auto show) but they have blown my mind with this space ship ad campaign. Eye-catching images and haunting music make you feel like maybe you, a person who is or still feels like they should be in their late 20’s, should run out and buy a traditionally grandpa-ish vehicle because the music is just that cool.


“Burning for You” by Shiny Toy Guns

“Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Shiny Toy Guns

(ED: Did you know that the soundtrack is a German import? Major Tom (völlig losgelöst) by Peter Schilling became a hit in Germany in 1983, a year later it was released in the USA as Major Tom (coming home) by the same artist. The German version is still a hit in certain European clubs where people go on trips into other galaxies … nuff said.)

“Under the Milky Way” by Sia

“High Roller” by The Crystal Method (Get it? Get it?)

And for LOLS…

Freakin’ Kia and their hilarious hamsters… So much better than the alternative. They’re kickin’ it old school in this Soul commercial.

“This or That” by Black Sheep

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  • Jeff NYC does have a right to access these charges and unless you are traveling on business or a necessity you don't have to drive or live in NYC. I have been in NYC a few times and I have absolutely no desire to go back. I can say the same thing about Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston where I lived for 29 years. A city can get too big where it is no longer livable for many. I was raised in West Houston near the Katy Freeway which is part of I-10. The Katy Freeway when I moved from Houston was a 6 lane road--3 lanes on each side of the interstate with each side have side access roads which we called feeder roads for a total of 8 lanes. Today the Katy freeway has 26 lanes which include feeder roads. I went back to Houston in 2010 to see my father who was dying and lost any desire to go back. To expand the Katy Freeway it took thousands of businesses to be torn down. I read an article about future expansion of the Katy freeway that said the only way to expand it was to either put a deck above it or to go underground. One of the things the city was looking at was to have tolls during the peak hours of traffic. Houston is very flat and it is easier to expand the size of roads than in many eastern cities but how easy is it to expand a current road that already has 26 lanes and holds the record for the widest road in the World. It seems that adding more lanes to the Katy freeway just expanded the amount of traffic and increased the need for more lanes.
  • Art_Vandelay It's not like everyone is topping their ICE vehicles off and coasting into the gas station having used every last drop of fuel either though. Most people start looking to fill up at around a 1/4 of a tank. If you constantly run the thing out of gas your fuel pump would probably be unhappy. If you running your EV to zero daily you probably bought the wrong vehicle
  • ToolGuy Imagine how exciting the automotive landscape will be once other manufacturers catch up with Subaru's horizontally-opposed engine technology.
  • FreedMike Oh, and this..."While London likes to praise its own congestion charging for reducing traffic and increasing annual revenues, tourism has declined..."The reason London's tourism numbers are down is that the city has resumed its' "tourist tax." And why did the tourist tax get reimposed? Brexit.
  • Dukeisduke Eh, still a Nissan. Nope.