QOTD: What's Your Favourite Automotive Marketing Campaign?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd what s your favourite automotive marketing campaign
Last week, Jack opined it’s high time a certain American nameplate needs to start leading itself with marketing — brash, notice-it-even-if-you-don’t-want-to marketing — instead of by the short leash provided when one tries engineering their way into the hearts and wallets of American consumers.Never one to pass up a chance to dive down the rabbit hole of automotive marketing, it didn’t take long for my browser history to be clogged with search terms, finding great car ads I remember from when, as a kid, my grubby little hands would anticipate the arrival of a new car magazine.Porsche and VW have had some great campaigns over the years, with a series of mid-’90s print ads that included the “Kills Bugs Fast” tagline ranking pretty high in my personal top 40. The whole design of the campaign — from the illusion of speed on a static page to the copy itself — set my young imagination afire and led to lusting for an Arena Red 993 Turbo, which remains unabated to this day.
No discussion of great car ads is complete without a mention of VW’s ‘Think Small’ campaign. Armed with a relatively paltry amount of marketing cash, VW hired the Doyle Dane Bernbach marketing firm, who proceeded to knock it out of the park with more than a dose of wit and self-deprecating humor. Full-page ads with acres of white space drew the reader’s eyes, while the creative copy kept them there.Deploying a rock star, weird rocks n’ trees stuff, ads laden with innuendo — there’s plenty from which to choose. What’s your favourite automotive marketing campaign?
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2 of 93 comments
  • Salzigtal Salzigtal on Apr 01, 2017

    Since previous comments have included fake ads, I nominate Firesign Theater's Ralph Sportsport Motors "We'll sit on your face to make you a better deal".

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Apr 03, 2017

    I don't know about favorite, but in terms of memorable, there was a commercial that showed the grille of a black Cadillac, then the camera zoomed out and there were handles on the sides of the car with people walking on either side of it, suggesting the Caddy was a coffin and strongly implying that you only bought a Cadillac if you were old and buying your last car. I only ever saw it once, and I don't recall who the ad was actually for, but like the 1984 Mac ad, I still remember the imagery.

  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.