QOTD: What Is Your All-Time Favorite Automotive Commercial?

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
qotd what is your all time favorite automotive commercial

Like it or not, advertising is a legitimate art form, studied and dissected just like its sculpture and literature forebears. As the high holy day of the medium approaches this weekend, I thought it appropriate that we discuss some of history’s greatest automotive advertisements.

And don’t worry, we will have a roundup of The Big Game’s best car-specific spots coming soon.

Ideally, an advertisement should sell a car. That’s the point, right? But it seems the most memorable adverts do more than facilitate a transaction — they make a connection with viewers that lasts longer than the 30-second run time. The message stays with the potential buyer for years.

I’ve selected a few of my favorites, and my absolute favorite is at the bottom. But I’m sure you’ll tell me I’m wrong, so feel free to link to your faves.

2016 was a rough one for celebrities, it seems, but in January we didn’t realize just how bad it would get. We’d lost David Bowie, though, and that’s all it took to make this Audi commercial pull at the heartstrings.

1996 was a big year for me. It’s the year I graduated high school, but it’s also the year Nissan killed off the Z for a while. But when their creative team decided to make a memorable advertisement, nothing else on the showroom floor evoked excitement like the 300ZX. So they used a toy Z instead.

I’ll admit it — unlike just about everyone else in the world, I’m not a Star Wars fan. I might have watched one of the films when I was a kid, but the franchise didn’t impact me like most. It took until last summer to get me through all of the films (to that point) with my kids. But the excitement this kid must be feeling when he uses The Force to start a Volkswagen is palpable.

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2 of 133 comments
  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First, EVs...next, grooming. Lord help us all.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.
  • Alan That's about $74k AUD, seems like a good price for the vehicle of this calibre. I think the Ranger Raptor will start around the $78k mark here. A friend of mine just bought a W580 Amarok for $97k. Nissan have the Navara Warrior which is cheaper, I think it starts in the high $50s. The cheapest is a Chinese iteration of one of these off road tuned vehicles starting in the $40s ($29k USD). But all of the above vehicles are not equal. I would think the Raptor is by far your best bet for an off roader.