By on April 21, 2015

Mitsubishi Drive @ earth

Cadillac’s Dare Greatly might be getting some flack as of late for its seemingly deep-but-surfacy language. But, it’s far from the most egregious use of the English language to move some metal.

Oh, the Japanese – they have their own unique talents with our mother tongue. Whether it’s model names (Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard, anyone?) or some of the amazing ads from the ’80s featuring Hollywood’s greatest stars, Japanese automotive marketing has always seemed quirkily entertaining when viewed from a Western perspective.

But, one tagline in particular – Drive @ earth from Mitsubishi – actually makes me mad.

It’s not solely because the tagline is bad (though it is), but because they still use it after all these years. When it comes to current slogans, Drive @ earth really, really doesn’t mean a single thing, which might be quite apt in the case of Mitsubishi.

What say you, Best & Brightest? What’s the worst automaker slogan being used right now?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

127 Comments on “QOTD: What’s The Worst Automaker Slogan?...”


  • avatar
    Hamilton Guy

    “That’s not a Buick” Its a bit more than the bad slogan, but my reaction to the latest round of Buick ads where people are looking for a Buick and not seeing it (especially the one with the car jockey running back and forth down a line of cars muttering “Buick, Buick”). My reaction to those ads was; Buick,you are telling me that 50 years of advertising your three shield symbol, costing umpteen million dollars, was totally wasted since someone looking for your brand doesn’t recognize it!!

  • avatar
    Joss

    British Leyland beauty with brains behind it…

    No Jag – Austin Marina.

  • avatar
    vb9594

    Remember a few years ago during the meat of the recession when Mitsubishi ran a few ads with the slogan “Let’s End Pretentiousness?” I wanted to puke every time I saw it.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    For 17 years Ford had the “Quality is Job 1” campaign. The reality was that the Japanese were cleaning the domestics’ clocks in quality so advertising was the response. So, not a bad slogan but for it to work it needed to be somewhat based in reality.

    Ford and quality were not the reality. At the time it only made you wonder what “Job 2” was. Perhaps it was responding to all the complaints about “Job 1”.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Job 1 is an actual term still used as part of Ford’s internal lingo. Not sure if it started as a marketing slogan and was adapted to manufacturing, or if the marketing slogan was taken from manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      The “Quality is Job 1” campaign looks like a masterstroke compared to GM’s solution to poor quality at the time… Howie Makem, the Quality Cat!

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tag/howie-makem/

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I always laughed at that one. Then I thought about poor Mr. Goodwrench being shown the door with the cat looking on – and laughed even harder. Looking back, that was GM’s jump the shark moment.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          GM ran a campaign in the Eighties: “Nobody Sweats The Details Like GM”

          Noting how awful quality control on GM cars had become, a C&D letter writer chimed in with, “nobody sweats the recalls like GM.”

    • 0 avatar
      ScarecrowRepair

      A computer company I worked at wanted a new slogan, so some of us suggested “At xxx, quality is job number zero!”

      Management didn’t appreciate us.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Ford and its reputation was at the bottom of the barrel when the “Quality is Job 1″ campaign came out and the Ford logo returned to their cars (the Ford oval disappeared in 1949 and returned in 1982.) By 1980, Ford had lost half of their sales from two years ago to the imports, and was in financial trouble.

      The campaign was Ford’s way of proclaiming they were turning the company around. It certainly did not happen overnight, and there were still duds waiting in Ford’s future; but it can easily be argued that Ford did indeed turn the company and their product line around in those 17 years.

      It was not meant to be a proclamation they were already better than the competition; but that they were working on improving the situation. And that they did, one product (Taurus/Sable, Explorer, 1997 F Series, Focus just to name a few) at a time. I think it was actually a good fit for state the company was in at time.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It wasn’t the actual slogan but the Escort and Taurus (and the beginning of jelly-bean design) that saved Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          I agree Lorenzo; but the slogan was Ford’s way of announcing they were staging a comeback by replacing their archaic RWD lineup with a new line of higher quality FWD jellybeans. If in fact they did not deliver; a slogan alone would not have saved them.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Chrysler: Imported from Detroit
    Cadillac: The Standard of the World

    Not slogans but still make me scratch my head:
    Honda: Earth Dreams
    Hyundai: Blue Drive
    Mazda: SKYACTIV
    Nissan: Pure Drive

    For once, BMW’s slogan of “Efficient Dynamics” actually makes somewhat more sense that these.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      On your same topic, one that got me from about 10 years ago was after the success/notoriety Honda garnered with their VTEC system, the domestics started to have some form of -tec for their cam timing system’s name Ecotec, Zetec, etc. to cash in on the name/brand equity that VTEC had garnered.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      As a tagline, I like “Standard of the World.” It’s just sad that it’s no longer appropriate for Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The “Standard of the World” tagline came from Cadillac winning the Dewar trophy for successfully using standardized parts to build a car.

      That was a big deal 100 years ago. Today, not so much.

      • 0 avatar

        While “the standard of the world” slogan came out of the Dewar award, Henry Leland’s devotion to standards went beyond standardized parts. Cadillac was the first American car company to use Johansson gauges, aka Jo blocks, for calibrating tools.

        There are reasons for it, but it’s a shame that Leland isn’t better known. He founded Cadillac but that brand won’t honor him because he later founded Lincoln and Lincoln won’t honor him because of his role in turning the Henry Ford Co., Henry’s second automotive venture, into Cadillac. Ford would later buy Lincoln out of receivership in part so he could humiliate Leland and have him walked out of his own factory.

        • 0 avatar
          TheyBeRollin

          There’s more to it than that. Leland didn’t really build Cadillac, he just renamed it and slapped his engine in them. The cars themselves were all-but identical to the Ford Model A.

          On the other hand, Leland (and Cadillac) could be credited with numerous extremely important innovations in automobile construction and technology. Cars today wouldn’t exist without some of them.

    • 0 avatar
      honda_lawn_art

      I love the “Standard of the World” slogan.

      Hyundai “Blue Drive” lol.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    The worst ever is the old Toyota|Everyday slogan. How they didn’t know that “everyday” primarily meant “ordinary or commonplace” is really strange to me.

    Unless they wanted to go ahead and own the notion of dull and routine and… whoa.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Lincoln MKZ.

    “The most class in its class.”

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also, I love the mid 90s (edit: mid 00s!) Subaru JDM Legacy commercial.

    Bruce Willis is standing there, in a suit.

    *removes sunglasses*

    “Congratulations…”

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    I loathed a Mitsubishi slogan from several years ago: “Achieve Mitsubishi” followed by a registered trademark symbol . . . afraid somebody would try to steal it! So far I think Mitsubishi is knocking it out of the park for bad slogans.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    How can most people here at TTAC competently judge car commercials? We’re not the targeted audience. The ads require audience ignorance and suggestibility.

    I think there’s at least one marketing pro here (Toad guy?), maybe more, and I’d like to see their input.

  • avatar
    ckb

    BMW’s “joy” campaign never made any sense to me. Decades of finely tuned adrenaline pumping precision driving standard bearing sports sedans, aka the ultimate. Driving. MACHINE! And all of a sudden “hey come frolic and be a hippie with us”.

    I’m guessing the executives thought the same thing because it only stuck around for a year or so. Also why on earth did FIAT ever use the slogan “Fix It Again Tony”? (ba-dum bum)

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Decades of finely tuned adrenaline pumping precision driving standard bearing sports sedans..”

      And they’ve survived and flourished despite that. I think BMW is brilliant.

  • avatar
    strafer

    Chevy trucks, “Like a rock”.
    to be a rock and not to roll…

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      George Thorogood “Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job” should have been used by some automaker somewhere for one of their muscle cars.

      Perhaps the Challenger?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “Like a Rock” was awesome. It was one of the longest running TV campaigns ever. Plus, as a child of the 90s, that commercial burned into my brain the idea that Chevy trucks were the, “most dependable and longest lasting trucks on the road.”

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      Bob Seger is the greatest truck salesman of all time!!! Bring him back!!!

  • avatar
    fr88

    “BOLD NEW CAMRY.”

    “Bold” and “Camry” in the same sentence? Laughable. You can call a pig a princess all you want, but it’s still a pig.

    • 0 avatar
      Silent Ricochet

      Pretty much my exact reaction when first seeing that commercial. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I’d take my Cavalier over a numb, mundane Camry. At least it’s fun to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You lost me there.

        I think I’d choose a Camry. At least it’s reliable and the plastic on the gear lever doesn’t cut my fingers. And I took drivers ed in a Cavalier. It wasn’t fun to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          Silent Ricochet

          Let me rephrase, I’d take my 5-Speed Cavalier Z24 over a Camry. Not a base model Cavalier, then it’s a tie. Toyota might have it in reliability, however.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Might have it? LOL

            At least yours is a manual. But still, this is extreme bias.

          • 0 avatar
            jjster6

            Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that anyone, ever, anywhere, had any fun whatsoever, driving any car with the Cavalier name plate on it.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Any functional vehicle was fun in high school; Cavaliers, Chevettes, and Parisiennes included.

            I’d also rather drive a 2.4L or 2.2L Cavalier Z24 over a lot of Camrys. But not a 3.0L 5-speed early-nineties Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      honda_lawn_art

      I’ll admit the saying is a clear response to the notion of Camry being an appliance, but it’s not the dullest car out there, and in SE form, is pretty exciting.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I challenge you to find a car more dull than Camry, unless it is a Corolla or Prius. Hell, even the Korean midsizers are hot sex compared to Camry.

        The Malibu may be ugly, not very good, and ugly again, but its still more bold and exciting than Camry. Come to think of it, Alex Trebeck trying to softly talk a baby to sleep is more exciting than a Camry.

        The SE has a gaudy body kit and fog lights. Wow. Stop the world, mommy, I want to get off! Way too much excitement!

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          Dull? You need to go test drive a V6 Camry SE. I’d take that over any Sonata I’ve driven.

          Malibus are nice, but bold and exciting? I want some of what you are smoking.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      The only way a Camry is bold is if you compare it to a Corolla.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    I mostly roll my eyes at car ads, they’re not really targeting enthusiasts and fans like us, hence my reaction. But, my God, do I loathe the Subaru Ads. Especially the radio commercials. They all follow the same formula:

    “It rains here, so I bought a Subaru, so I can be symmetrically stuck in the mud. ALL-WHEEL DRIVE. SO SAFE. Did we mention we have All-Wheel Drive? What about the same safety ratings that every other brand got in the same segments? All-Wheel Drive. Symmetry. Safe. Love. It’s what makes an All-Wheel Drive Toyota, a Subaru”.

    One literally describes a lady that only feels safe in her Subaru when it’s raining out. What? And people eat that kind of marketing up. The slogan contains the name of the car maker. That’s like using the very word you’re defining in the definition. I understand the love part, keeping your occupants (they usually show the family) safe. But, it’s cheesy at best.

  • avatar
    ccode81

    It was disappointing to hear Maserati’s slogan “Excellence through passion” which is no doubt a copy cat of Bridgestone’s “Passion for excellence”

  • avatar
    Featherston

    While objectively it’s not the worst, Pierce-Arrow’s 1933 “Suddenly it’s 1940” might be the saddest, given the company’s bleak outlook and the fact that its beautiful ads of the ’10s and ’20s had little or no copy.

    Packard, of course, still has the best slogan.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Packard’s slogan re-purposed in the song “So Round So Firm So Fully Packed”

      You can bet your boots I’d walk a mile through the snow
      Just to see that toothpaste smile they mention on the radio
      If you don’t think she’s a lot of fun, ‘just ask the man that owns one’
      So round, so firm, so fully packed, that’s my gal

  • avatar
    KixStart

    “First Ever G6.” Which could be restated as “First Ever Combination of These Particular Meaningless Characters to Refer to a Humdrum Vehicle.”

    Worse, I’m pretty sure I noticed, “First Ever CT-6” the other day.

    [uses The Google]

    Yep. It’s real. Nuts. At least the CT-6 probably has a little more going on.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      CT-6 makes me think CAT-6, which was a standardized test used back in the late 90s early 2000s.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I remember taking the CAT tests I believe in high school.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I first ran into it when I got to NM. The state did not have its own standardized tests at that point, we borrowed others.

          Prior to that I had grown up in Ohio and taught in MI so I was familiar with Michigan’s MEAP test.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “MEAP test”

            Homer: How’d you get to be so good?

            June Bellamy: Oh, just experience I suppose. I started out as Road Runner. [does Road Runner’s voice] Meep!

            Homer: You mean “Meep-meep?”

            June Bellamy: No, they only paid me to say it once, then they doubled it up on the soundtrack. … Cheap bastards.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The MEAP is now dead. It had a good 44 year run. Now we have the M-STEP, which is online and NCLB and Common Core compliant. It was developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. What a horrific sounding entity.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Try PARCC on for size: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Future QOTD: What’s the worst title for an educational standards organization?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “Future QOTD: What’s the worst title for an educational standards organization?”

            There are many…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Funny how the “first ever G6” became the last ever Pontiac.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    [email protected] [sic] is stupid any way you cut it, but it would be somewhat less inane if planets other than Earth were available for driving.

  • avatar

    Pontiac’s “We Build Excitement” campaign was good for the manly hard rock jingle and “Silk Stockings”-esque music-video ads, but aside from the Fiero, Firebird/Trans Am, and maybe the Grand Prix, there really wasn’t anything to match the ball-smashing, car-crashing, horse-galloping, wall-banging, testosterone-poisoned bravado the campaign was going for.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    I kindly draw the B&B’s attention to this Toyota Aygo ad that is currently used in Europe:

    http://www.prodigiousbroadcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/aygo_whos_driving_website.jpg

    When self-proclaimed marketing gurus with NOT english as their first language try to come up with edgy slogans, I guess…..

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I can’t think of a current slogan that annoys, but both Mitsubishi’s “The word is getting around” in the 90’s, and Mercury’s last gasp “New Doors Opened” used to bother the hell out of me for being stupid.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    “HEARTBEAT of America” was huge, but too easy/frequently mocked with HEARTBREAK…

    The “Like a ROCK” went to “Like a KNOCK” after the whole GM “Piston Slap” fiasco, and became the running joke. GM retired that one in shame.

    The “If You Can Find a Better Car BUY IT!” was Pure Gold!

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “HEARTBEAT of America”

      Diabolically ironic given the age and health status of the Chevy buyers in these parts.

    • 0 avatar
      YotaCarFan

      “Heartbeat of America” — I resented GM and the slogan every time I saw an ad featuring this slogan plastered over the image of a rebadged import passed off as a Chevy, as I was anti-import at the time and felt it misled people into thinking the cars were American. Plus, it was illogical – how could something foreign be the heartbeat of America?

  • avatar
    210delray

    “Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru!” Worse than Subie’s “What to Drive” campaign from the 90s.

    Also from the early 00s: “The power of &” (Cadillac)

  • avatar

    Go Further.

  • avatar

    I can’t think of a single current-day slogan, as I don’t watch live TV and don’t listen to any radio with commercials.

    So automakers, I guess I’ll have a hard time Getting to Know You…

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Saturn’s “We’re still here”.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Maybe because I was an impressionable youth, but I liked a lot of the 80s ones like:
    “I love what you do for me”
    “We build excitement”
    “We make it simple”
    Though admittedly, I never understood “Sakes alive”

    I suspect today’s slogans are decided on and watered down by a half dozen committees. They sure sound like it.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    OOPS….. deleting my comment

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection

    Implies that perfection can never be reached, only pursued.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yes, that’s correct. They cannot accurately claim that their cars are perfect. Immediate lawsuit would occur. But they can try as hard as they can for it – relentlessly.

      I don’t think this is an example of a slogan fail.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good. – Vince Lombardi

        I’m no Lombardi fan (because I’m a long suffering Cleveland Browns fan) but that is an excellent quote. I figured Lexus borrowed a bit of it.

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      Exactly, always reaching for the stars, but never fully getting there.

  • avatar
    210delray

    “When better cars are built, Buick will build them.”

    A longstanding oldie, but my son pointed out a problem with this, as if the slogan is REALLY saying: “At some indeterminate point in the future, when better cars are built, …”

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    During GM’s seemingly endless 30 year slide into bankruptcy, I used to marvel that the only excellent part of their organization seemed to be their advertising department. Good slogans were easy. Product execution, not so much. Kinda bassakward compared to the typical business situation.

    Yours truly,
    Joe Isuzu

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      As someone who has had executive responsibility for corporate marketing, and whose wife has a career background in packaged goods marketing, I can tell you that GM’s marketing budget throughout that 30-year period was the envy of almost every other business in the world. It would have been remarkable if they had not produced great stuff with it – the reality is that some times they did, and some times they didn’t.

      What is really remarkable is how all the money they had for product development/quality during the same period produced such poor results compared to their competitors – which was validated by the market.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    No one’s hit on Mazda for “Zoom-Zoom”? I own two of them, but it’s kind of a stupid slogan.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The worst “brand” I have seen in the US is BMW’s “EfficientDynamics” term. What is it even supposed to mean?

    Japan probably gets the prize for misusing and making up English words, but one I have seen that makes no sense was for the current Estima (Previa). “Estima. Estimind.” Which, in Japan, was probably pronounced “Estimindo.”

  • avatar
    ect

    “Fahrvergnügen”. Hands down.

    Throw a word at your audience that they can’t understand or pronounce, and whose meaning you don’t properly communicate.

    And the ultimate sin was, it didn’t sell cars. VW sales in the US declined every year they ran this campaign.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Toyota | Moving Forward >

    Right smack dab during the unintended acceleration fiasco. Truth in advertising.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Hi.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    An American Revolution.

    During their bankruptcy filing.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Road to Redemption.

    Certainly turned out to be the road not traveled.

  • avatar
    Joh

    Jaguars new one: “Mark Your Territory”
    I think my poodle does that.

  • avatar
    300zx_guy

    At least “Mark Your Territory” plays on the cat theme, so it makes some sense.

    The worst slogans are the ones that don’t ring true. Mercedes Benz’ “the best or nothing” is not as laughable as Cadillac’s reviving the “Standard of the World” slogan (while their product is still far from it), but there’s a lot about Benz’s current lineup that doesn’t scream “best”. “The best, or nothing, so long as you’re spending $50,000 or up” is closer to accurate, but not very catchy.

    Nonsensical or generic slogans are also silly. [email protected], I can’t say I’ve seen that one yet, but this would be one example. Another is Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places”, which says nothing about what differentiates Toyota, and could be the slogan of any car company (or airline or train or bus or cruise line). And can we stop with the advertising campaigns trying to create the next “Flo” from Progressive character? Toyota, AT&T cellular, …

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ve yet to see a carmaker come up with a worse slogan than “6 > 1”, which is the slogan for Flonase nasal spray.

  • avatar
    matador

    “Pontiac Is Car”.

    I’ll just leave that here….

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    “Dodge Ram. It’s all the Japanese you need to know!”

  • avatar
    XYGTHO Phase3

    Holden’s current slogan – “Let’s Go There”. Apparently it tugs on the heartstrings of Australians, or some BS like that.

    Heartstrings? No. But they were definitely tugging on something…

  • avatar
    tsoden

    There are so many “yo Momma” jokes that can be made from a lot of these slogans:

    Yo Mamma is like a Vauxhall – Once driven, forever smitten.
    Yo Mamma is like a Volvo – Tested by dummies, driven by the intelligent.
    Yo Mamma is like a Ford – Quality is Job One
    Yo Mamma is like a Toyota – Oh what a feeling
    Yo Mamma is like a BMW – Sheer driving pleasure

    Snicker….

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Inside Looking Out: Tesla is very competent automobile in my book at least. But I am from Silicon Valley so probably...
  • Inside Looking Out: ““Stint” I presume?” My understanding is that Ken participated in undercover...
  • EBFlex: Yes because I’m sure Ford didn’t demand reviewers drive it like a grandma in exchange for loaning...
  • EBFlex: Can’t wait for Amazon.com to be as slow and clunky as Ford’s infotainment.
  • Dan: I’d like it to be as fast as – and more importantly similar power delivery to, I don’t care...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber