Advertising

Volkswagen Group Pulls Twitter Advertising

Earlier this week, General Motors pulled its Twitter advertising. Now Volkswagen Auto Group is following suit. The company is recommending that its brands pause advertising on Twitter for the time being.

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Ford Decides Paying for Ads Is Stupid

Ford CEO Jim Farley has said he sees little reason for the automaker to bother using traditional advertising campaigns for electric vehicles. Considering how often I see the Ford logo grace whatever screen I happen to be peering into, this would seem to go against everything I’ve been conditioned to accept. However the company believes its EVs practically sell themselves already, with the executive noting that the Mach-E has been sold out for quite some time.

“I’m not convinced we need public advertising for [electric vehicles] if we do our job,” Farley said during Wednesday’s Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.

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Super Bowl LVI Car Commercial Live(ish) Blog

The day is upon us. Madison Avenue rejoices.

Super Bowl LVI airs tonight, and with it comes the commercials. And, probably, heartburn – though I suppose that depends on what you’re eating.

I’ll be posting YouTube links of every automotive (and auto-adjacent) commercial pretty much as they air. Come join the conversation in the comments.

Regarding the game, I have no real dog in the fight (I’m a Packers fan) but as a lifelong Ohioan my heart leans toward the Bengals.

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2022 Super Bowl LVI Pre-Game Commercial Roundup

What’s more American than football? Marketing, gluttony, and consumerism have to rank quite highly, I’d imagine. Thankfully, we have a bacchanalia this upcoming weekend that celebrates all four and then some.

That’s right, for those outside the big cities of Los Angeles and, um, Cincinnati who have been caught unaware, the LVI-th edition of the Super Bowl will be played this Sunday, February 13th. As always, marketers will pay for access to those millions of eyeballs, thus the Super Bowl Commercial as its own genre of big-budget short film.

As in years past, this will be a two-part series for TTAC. Today, I’ll post the automotive and automotive-adjacent commercials that have been shared to YouTube. Some of these are the full commercials, while some are teasers. On Sunday evening, come back here for a live-ish blog where I post every automotive and automotive-adjacent commercial as it airs. Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting from a recliner very near to my fridge and liquor cabinet. Once we get into the third quarter there’s a decent chance I’ll make a few humorous typos.

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Let's Talk About a Terrible GMC Ad

We here at TTAC love it when there’s a bad car ad — because we get to rip it apart.

And now we have one from GMC — and no, it’s not the annoyingly Yuppie “I love it” people.

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Toyota Pulls Japanese Olympics Ads As Games Come Under Fire

The 2021 Summer Olympics, set to be held in Tokyo starting Friday, are proving to be quite unpopular, at least in Japan. And apparently, Toyota has taken notice and pulled the plug on its planned local advertising during the Games.

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Ford Introduces Gasoline Scented Perfume to Help Sell EVs

Ford’s marketing for the Mach-E is getting truly bizarre. Rather than stick to the traditional method of buying up advertising space and bombarding consumers with commercials, the Blue Oval has been branching out by introducing automotive-themed fragrances. However, the gasoline-scented toilet water the company has cheekily named “Mach-Eau GT” and designed to remind customers of what they’ll be missing when they transition over to electric vehicles.

Introduced at England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the perfume carries notes of gasoline, rubber, and the pleasantly noxious off-gassing of interior adhesives that’s responsible for the new-car smell. But it’s exceptionally difficult to determine if this is a gag to highlight the olfactory superiority of electric vehicles or an earnest attempt to preserve the sensory experience of the traditional automobile. This is made worse by Ford’s Mach-E coming with synthetized exhaust notes designed to con the driver into thinking they’re driving something that’s burns gasoline. Are we fetishizing the past as we attempt to kill it or just mocking it?

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2021 Acura TLX Type S Picks Up the Pace This Weekend

The 2021 Acura TLX Type S will pace the field at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio in Lexington, Ohio this weekend. The TLX Type S’ debut is one we reported previously, with more details available now than Acura had previously released.

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2022 Acura MDX SUV Insurers' Top Safety Pick

The 2022 Acura MDX SUV’s Top Safety Pick (TSP) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety runs counter to all the racing around done in Acura’s commercials. The MDX is the automaker’s third vehicle to receive the IIHS’s highest safety rating, along with the RDX and TLX.

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2021 Bronco Badlands Podiums at Mexican 1000 Rally

A stock 2021 Bronco Badlands finished third in the NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road rally, driven by two Ford engineers. The podium finish came in the Pre-Runner Truck class.

Bronco engineer manager Jamie Groves and Seth Goslawski, another Bronco engineer, drove the majority of the 1,141 mile race across the Baja peninsula. Brad Lovell, a Bronco advisory panel member and prior NORRA winner, helped navigate and drove one stage during the five-day event.

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Connected Vehicle Sales Grow by 20 Percent in 2021

Connected vehicle sales will grow 20 percent in 2021, with a 10.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2020-2026 according to ABI Research, a tech market advisory group.

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BMW Art Cars Exhibited

BMW art cars debuted today, using artificial intelligence (AI) software to generate new works of art. In conjunction with Frieze New York, the fair takes place in Manhattan from May 5 – 9, 2021.

Frieze New York has works of art from over 60 galleries, mainly located in New York. A viewing room with over 160 exhibitors runs through May 14, bringing together galleries worldwide, and audiences who can’t travel.

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Ermenegildo Zegna Teams With Stellantis

Today, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group announced its affiliation with Stellantis. By 2025, the Zegna Group’s entire fleet of 200 will go green. A new green-car policy has gone into effect at the company, well known for its pricy clothing and accessories.

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2022 Hyundai Kona N Unwrapped

Hyundai rolled out the 2022 Kona N yesterday at its N Day, a digital showcase for the N brand. The latest N brand inclusion, Hyundai’s N and N Line will grow to 18 models through 2022. Hyundai expresses its ambition for the brand with the tagline ‘Never just drive’.

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Matchbox Moves Towards 100% Recycled Materials

Matchbox is headed towards 100 percent recycled, recyclable, or bio-based materials by 2030. Is this the end of die-cast cars as we know them?

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2021 Hyundai LGBTQ Partnership Announced

Hyundai’s support for the LGBTQ community continues. Announced today, it includes a new commercial, and sponsorships of the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards and 2021 Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival.

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CarMax Invites Customers to 'Do Donuts'

CarMax has invited customers to ‘do donuts’ during their test drives, a promotion with Dunkin’ Donuts. For shoppers who take part in CarMax’s 24-hour test drives today through May 16th, they’ll receive a $10 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

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The Week of Driving Autonomously in an Xpeng

XPeng, a Chinese maker of EVs, sent a fleet of XPeng P7s on a 2,284-mile, weeklong autonomous driving jaunt across six provinces, the longest by any mass-produced vehicles in the country.

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Hertz Offers Custom Vehicle Wraps on Rentals

Hertz will custom wrap a rental vehicle to mark an occasion or celebration, a program that appears to be available throughout their system in locations across the U.S.

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Too-Sexy BMW on the Catwalk at NY Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week 2021, which oddly enough begins today and ends tomorrow, marks the return of BMW of North America to the catwalk. BMW rejoins Fashion Week, a celebration of fashion, culture, design, and economic development.

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GM Hypes Norway's EV Leadership

Actor Will Farrell describes Norway’s EV leadership in one of the more amusing Super Bowl commercials, and how General Motors is looking to change all that here at home.

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Super Bowl LV Car Commercial Live(ish) Blog

It’s time for football! It’s time for commerce!

I’ll be updating this post with YouTube links to every car (and car-adjacent) commercial as the game goes along. Check back throughout the game for updates as each new ad airs.

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2021 Super Bowl LV Pre-Game Commercial Roundup

It’s about that time. It’s the time of year where we gather around the biggest screen in our social group with dozens of our closest friends and/or acquaintances we at least trust to bring the good beer. Time to share all of those great recipes you’ve been working on — whether for guacamole, wings, or a lovely new strain of a communicable disease.

Ahem.

Yeah, let’s not do that. Let’s stay home, make a small batch of guac for your own fam, and spring for the good stuff yourself since you don’t need to account for the one guy who brings a sixer of Natty Light when you’ve stocked the fridge with artisanal growlers.

Since the crowds won’t be too rowdy, you can finally pay attention to both the commercials and the big game. We’ll have live-ish coverage of the automotive-adjacent ads during the game, but as usual, some automakers have released their ads early. Check ’em out!

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Mini Backs Tech Startup Accelerator Despite Slow Sales

Backed by Mini, URBAN-X’s ninth early-stage startup is an ongoing effort to improve city life, in the midst of the automaker’s waning sales.

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Adventures in Marketing: BMW Says "OK Boomer" to Its Own Flagship Vehicles

BMW published a four-minute and change ad a couple weeks ago for the start of the virtual CES 2021 show. Though this would not normally be a subject worth covering, this particular ad seems to indicate BMW believes their own E65 7-Series is for ridiculous out of touch Boomers.

Marketing departments always know what they’re doing, right?

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Kia Reveals Its New Logo

Kia revealed its new logo and brand slogan while you were asleep last night, signifying the Korean automaker’s ambitions to become a leader in the industry by revamping nearly all facets of its business.

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Adventures in Advertising: What is the Creature in That Mercedes Ad?

You’ve probably seen a certain Mercedes-Benz ad this year. Or maybe in years past – I think the ad in question ran last year, as well, and maybe even before then.

It’s a holiday ad featuring one of the brand’s luxury SUVs and advertising a winter sales event for Mercedes.

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BMW Presented Golden Button Award by YouTube

BMW videos on YouTube accessed by more than one million subscribers have earned the German automaker a coveted Golden Button Award.

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Ford Hires EBay's Suzy Deering as Global Chief Marketing Officer

Ford has hired Suzy Deering as global chief marketing officer to help execute its plan to unlock customer and company value. Deering will join Ford as head of Global Marketing on January 4, 2021, from worldwide and North America CMO at eBay for five-plus years.

Deering will succeed Joy Falotico as Ford CMO. The company previously announced that Falotico, who has been managing both marketing and the Lincoln brand for the past three years, will be dedicated solely to her role as president of the Lincoln Motor Company, Ford’s strategically important and growing luxury vehicle brand.

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Adventures in Marketing: Ford Stretches the Mustang Name

Last night I was watching my beloved Chicago Bears stumble and bumble their way to a win over the Tampa Bay Tom Bradys when I saw an ad for Ford in which the company claimed they “electrified the Mustang.” My inner fact-checker was not pleased.

Yes, of course, Ford does have an all-electric crossover-ish (more like raised five-door, but Ford insists on calling it an SUV or crossover) called the Mustang Mach-E. It’s part of the Mustang “family”. So, in the strictest sense, Ford does sell an all-electric Mustang.

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GMC Hummer Reveal Scheduled for World Series

While General Motors still plans on debuting its all-electric Hummer on October 20th in a live-stream event catering to industry watchers and EV super fans, it will also be dipping into its marketing budget to give those watching the first game of Major League Baseball’s World Series a glimpse of the beast.

Two weeks from now, the automaker will pull the trigger on a synchronous media extravaganza guaranteed to place the electric behemoth in front of as many eyes as possible. In addition to the official debut and Fox’ baseball slot, GM has also purchased time during NBC’s The Voice — which is estimated to draw in around 9 million viewers when it returns for its 19th season.

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Adventures in Marketing: The Toyota Venza Attempts to Steal Subaru's Thunder

Toyota’s all-new Venza fills a two-row, crossover-sized void between the smaller RAV4 and the larger Highlander, and is essentially a return to what the Highlander was originally. To help draw in buyers to its resurrected nameplate, Toyota decided to use a long-standing Subaru ad trope: the family pet.

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Stacks of Gen-Z Won Incoming: Hyundai Ioniq EV Brand Endorsed by Famous K-pop Band

Finding the perfect celebrity endorsement occasionally means deciding which public persona aligns most closely with your corporate image — and figuring out how to lock down that commitment by waving a wad of cash beneath their nose.

The rest of the time it’s just a matter of hooking the biggest fish on your reel and dragging that thing into the boat to secure an all-important photograph together. Hyundai recently decided upon the later for its upcoming Ioniq sub-brand by tapping the K-Pop icon known as BTS.

While you’ve probably heard of the Ioniq liftback, you may not have known Hyundai plans to use the name to create an all-electric subsidiary mimicking exactly what the Genesis brand did for the automaker’s luxury vehicles. Odds are also good you’re not overly familiar with South Korea’s BTS, unless you’re a prepubescent girl or happen to share their taste in music and/or androgynous young men. But we can assure you that they are indeed international sensations — heartthrob material that Hyundai believes will make superb ambassadors for its upcoming EV brand.

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Honda 'Boycotts' Facebook and Instagram

American Honda has joined a cadre of sizable brands opting to pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram in order to “stand with with people united against hate and racism.” It’s part of a broader campaign, called #StopHateforProfit, in which activists push brands to boycott social media giants until they enact stricter regulations about what constitutes actionable language that should be censored/penalized.

Over the last few days, we’ve seen numerous companies adopt the increasingly popular campaign, yet the reasons for doing so seem as varied as their individual terms and conditions. Multinational consumer goods company Unilever said it will scrap all social media advertising for the remainder of 2020 in the United States. While most attribute this primarily to hate-speech concerns, the company also noted that the contentious political climate on those platforms (including Twitter) having become undesirable for its own advertising purposes. Coca-Cola is similarly pausing social media spending for a few weeks, it’s made it clear that it’s not joining the official boycott, despite claims to the contrary in the news.

While Honda’s involvement in the movement is a little easier to follow, there are still a few twist and turns.

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Should Tesla Start Advertising?

Tesla shareholders are scheduled to vote in July on whether or not the brand should start advertising product like every other automaker on the planet. It’s something the board and CEO Elon Musk have long resisted, and not without good reason. As a car brand, Tesla probably enjoys more free publicity than anyone else.

Musk has effectively mastered social media. He knows what buttons to press to earn more attention, and his one-man campaign has helped the company get where it is today more than the slickest ad copy could have hoped to.

Tesla also managed to spin this into a strength against would-be critics. Anytime someone laughs at the brand for not spending on traditional marketing, its acolytes point to the Musk talking point that cash is better used for development — a claim that holds some real weight, thanks to the brand having some of the most desirable electric vehicles on the market. But Tesla’s mystique won’t last forever, and it won’t be able to count on Elon Musk’s upper echelon Twitter game indefinitely.

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Bring Back National Cadillac Week

With no reason to risk going outside and industrial news at an all-time low, I’ve retreated into curiously dry hobbies as a way to maintain my sanity.

A substantial portion of my time has been devoted to parsing through old automotive catalogs and marketing materials. As someone who is notoriously difficult to shop for, dusty paperbacks that can easily be found for a nickel at any estate sale turned out to be ideal gifts… and I amassed a sizable collection. Over the weekend, I found myself going through vintage television spots — noticing they’re quite a bit different from the ads we encounter today.

While automotive marketing has evolved through the ages, there was a long stretch of time where companies basically just filmed a car driving around as a disembodied voice explained its strengths. This was back when advertisements featured voice-overs telling you that “ Quality is Job 1” at Ford, or a choir of voices joyfully acknowledging that they absolutely loved what Toyota was doing for them.

Today, I’m celebrating the 30th anniversary of a totally mundane promotion from 1990 called “National Cadillac Week.” While the free AVIS rental and cash back on your purchase weren’t unusual (then or now), I happened to encounter it exactly three decades after it originally aired — as if destined by fate. It was a glaring reminder of how much car ads have changed in that time period.

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Super Bowl LIV Car Commercial Live(ish) Blog

It’s that day – Super Bowl Commercial Sunday!

I’ll be sharing the automotive commercials as they appear during the game. Keep refreshing this post so you can stay up-to-date.

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2020 Super Bowl LIV Pre-Game Commercial Roundup

Time to celebrate America, undiagnosed head trauma, and the greatest marketing teams in all the land on Sunday night with the fifty-fourth chapter of The Big Game.

It’s an excuse to eat and drink to excess — but many people don’t need an excuse. More, it’s the one time per year where most people won’t be waiting for commercial breaks to get up and pee, since the commercials are often the best part of the night.

As I have no rooting interest in the game — I’m from Ohio, which means the only truly professional team here isn’t eligible since it plays in the NCAA, and my Wisconsin roots are disappointed in the Packers — you know I’ll be hitting pause on the DVR to re-watch the greatest short films trying to sell me something. And I’ll have my laptop at the ready, posting new commercials as they appear.

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Is CarbonPro Everything GMC Claims?

With General Motors razzing Ford back in 2015 for optioning an aluminum truck bed to save weight, thus improving fuel economy, it couldn’t pull off a similar move without a sea of mouths wailing warnings of hypocrisy. GM has been playing catch-up with the Blue Oval’s full-size pickup since forever, always framing the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado as the more robust choice. The company even launched an advertising campaign to prove its steel truck bed was the tougher option.

When the General’s full-sized trucks underwent a weight-loss program of their own, it was decided anything that opened or closed should be aluminum while the bed absolutely had to stay high-strength steel. Otherwise, it would be guilty of the same mistakes it accused Ford of. Despite throwing shade at Ford’s claimed lack of sturdiness for over a decade, the aluminum-sucks angle has been reeled back immensely over the last couple of years. GM even attempted to wipe all evidence of a comparative rock-drop test from the internet, possibly because it’s finally decided to embrace aluminum itself.

However, there’s already an alternative to the high-strength steel GM currently offers — the CarbonPro bed available on the GMC Sierra Denali and AT4 — and the manufacturer has prepared another stunt show to test its mettle.

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Super Bowl LIII Car Commercials Live(-ish) Coverage

Wipe that wing sauce and queso off of your chin. And put a coaster under that beer! It’s time for the Super Bowl – and, for those of you without any rooting interest whatsoever in either team, it’s time for Super Bowl commercials!

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2019 Super Bowl LIII Pre-Game Commercial Roundup

It’s time for that great celebration of Americana — the fifty-third Super Bowl. Sunday night, Patriots fans and Patriots haters will come together to watch the season’s championship game, against… a team from Los Angeles? Am I reading that right?

For the rest of us, the Super Bowl is basically a better Thanksgiving. Gorging oneself is expected, of course, but there are fewer awkward conversations with the great-grandmother or that weird racist uncle. And we get to watch TV.

Yeah, for me, the commercials are the best part. It’s an opportunity to celebrate excellence in short-form storytelling — while selling something. Like each of the last several years, I’ll be watching the game with my laptop in my, well, lap, updating a post every time a new car commercial appears. However, many of those commercials have already been teased or released outright prior to the game, and that’s where this preview comes in.

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GM Quietly Erases Online Ad Already Pulled From Television

In a rare victory for television, General Motors was forced to pull one of its obnoxious “Real People” ads earlier this week after Ford, Toyota, and Honda cried foul over its claims. If you missed our earlier coverage, the gist was that GM stated Chevrolet was the more dependable brand by surprising rival owners — who were definitely not paid actors — with totally reliable data…

One of the biggest problems with the spot was that the reliability-related praise heaped on Chevrolet’s vehicles was, in many cases, supported by data obtained from previous-generation vehicles. That gave the annoyed automakers solid footing to call the commercial misleading and deploy their lawyers. Earlier this month, GM’s legal team was sent a letter demanding the company stop making the reliability claims in its television campaign and was given until January 14th to respond to the demands.

General Motors ultimately responded by saying the ad had already stopped airing nationally and that it would be removed from local markets in the coming weeks. It noted that it stood by the claims. Then, earlier today, it also removed the commercial from the internet.

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Ad Cops Slap Nissan for Potentially Misleading Charging Info

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), like the fictional “phone cops” of WKRP fame, seem to be everywhere in that country, keeping tabs on everyone’s every move. As we told you last month, in the UK, commercials are not even allowed to show frustrated office workers getting behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang, even if they’re shown driving sedately once the car leaves the garage. Dangerous influences lurk everywhere.

Britain’s ad cops are at it again, only this time there’s some meat on the bones of the complaint. Automakers often play fast and loose when it comes to describing the capabilities of autonomous vehicle functions, but electric vehicles are another area fraught with potential misleading info. Throw pricing and fuel economy into that group, too. Nissan recently ran afoul of ASA watchdogs after one of its ads suggested owners could partly recharge their vehicles in a hurry. Of course, this is technically a true statement.

What resulted was essentially a battle over the word “could.”

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Chrysler's Pacifica Ads Grow Mildly Risque, As All Minivan Ads Should

Of all the automakers embroiled in the Mad Men-era rush to plumb the psyches of American car buyers, Chrysler’s Dodge division stood head and shoulders above the rest in one key marketing element: sex. It sells, apparently, and Chrysler Corp. made sure to instill a little bit of it, overtly or subconsciously, into its print and TV advertising. As the circa ’66-67 “Dodge Rebellion” campaign gave way to 1968-70’s “Dodge Fever” gambit, the impact of the counterculture movement and America’s rapidly liberalizing attitudes soon became apparent in Dodge’s ad copy.

It was this era in Chrysler’s marketing history that spawned what’s arguably the most sexist (and psychosexual) car ad ever printed: Dodge’s 1969 Charger R/T ad, titled “The Eternal Triangle.”

These were sexy times for America, but even sexier times for Dodge, which had clearly grown too hot under the collar. The onset of the 1970s saw the brand put the tie-dyed shirt and address book in storage, trading its hedonistic copy for the far tamer “Dodge Material” campaign, and the rest is history (some of it quite embarrassing). Given this rich marketing heritage, it’s nice to see Chrysler attempt to spice up a family-oriented minivan with sex.

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Adventures in Advertising: I Love What You Do for Me, Chuck - Let's Go Places

If it wasn’t for celebrity ad appearances, I wouldn’t know that [s]Jim Rockford[/s] James Garner thinks the Mazda 626 is a great buy, or that Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling chooses the Ford LTD over all other domestic two-door hardtops, simply for the cabin noise level. Meanwhile, red-blooded males across America still can’t shake those recurring thoughts of the Mercury Milan AWD V6.

We owe a great debt to Hollywood.

And Toyota now owes a big, fat check to Chuck Norris, a 78-year-old man famous for driving a Dodge Ram pickup in a show where violent men routinely and inexplicably dropped their guns in order to engage each other with fists. The automaker gets playful in its latest spot for a truck it can’t help but sell boatloads of.

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Honda's New Insight Ad Doesn't Make Sense

Honda has launched a new media campaign for the Insight, a model that stages its third reappearance for the 2019 model year. The media push frames other hybrids as ugly, boring vehicles you have to settle for in order to gain superior fuel economy. There’s a social media initiative that transforms everyday objects into something more interesting and a television spot where other vehicles mill around while covered in bubble letters that spell out “blah” or “meh,” with horns and engine noises to match.

But the whole ad seems counterintuitive. The Insight ditched its funky wheel coverings after the first generation, which was followed by the loss of the glass-back hatch. Now it’s a pretty normal looking vehicle. You might even mistake it for a miniature Honda Accord.

That’s not an insult; the Accord isn’t a bad looking vehicle, but it also blends in easily with traffic. A large part of that is due to its popularity, but it still calls into question the whole premise of the ad — which serves to portray other hybrids as mundane.

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Nissan's Kicks Ad Proves Automakers Can Still Do Marketing Right

Having released the pint-sized Kicks crossover into the North American market last month, Nissan needed marketing material to help boost visibility. Normally, car ads are platitudinous, offering little in the way of novelty to get us truly excited. The reason for this is because trying something different can result in an overwhelmingly bizarre experience. Kia’s reverse aging of Steven Tyler inside the Stinger GT is a prime example. It was the wrong rockstar for its target demographic and left us scratching our heads.

Other automakers allow marketing companies to pilot the brand into weird abstractions where they aren’t selling a car so much as an identity. Cadillac stumbled into trouble with this a few years ago, leaning into a more product-based advertising strategy ever since.

So what of the Kicks? The vehicle is clearly aimed at trendy youngsters seeking a good deal and some style. Will its ads cater to them, offering something vaguely informational, or will it be another televised dud?

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Mazda's New 'Feel Alive' Campaign Has Us Worried About Brand's Upmarket Push

Mazda’s new “Feel Alive” advertising campaign places consumers as its focal point as the company tries to market itself as an upscale and hip, enthusiast-oriented brand. On Monday, Mazda launched the first commercial — a borderline insulting collection of superficial phrases intended to get you excited about the brand’s new identity.

The spot itself is about as boilerplate new-millennium luxury car commercial as it gets. It opens with a series of attractive actors, all on the cusp of an important moment, as the narrator offers bizarrely simplistic lines of encouragement like “do that thing” and “take that step.” Granted, auto ads became far getting far less chatty about specs during the 1990s. But, over the last decade, too many car spots seem to be copying perfume ads — strange adventures in abstraction that say nothing about the product and cost a fortune to produce.

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Meet the Parents: Who Knew the Jeep Wrangler Was Human?

Humanizing animals is the easiest way to help kids sympathize with the plight of small, cuddly forest creatures, and thus the easiest way to turn them into staunch environmentalists. People do this because it works. It’s easy, and it sticks. How many non-hunters picture Bambi’s ill-fated mother when they consider taking up the outdoorsman life? Probably quite a few.

In the auto realm, humanization of cars is mainly the domain of Disney and Pixar and schlocky horror directors. Movies like The Love Bug, Cars, Christine, and The Car appeal to very different audiences, but they all succeed in humanizing their subjects to some degree. A car can be a living thing, menacing or cute, cuddly or lethal, if deep-pocketed filmmakers or marketing types desire it. We can even put ourselves in the shoes (brake shoes?) of a car.

Well, those deep-pocketed people have now humanized the Jeep Wrangler. It was born. It lives. It has a voice. But does it speak to you?

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Handsome New Cadillac XT4 Teased at Oscars Before New York Debut

Cadillac is showing off the upcoming XT4 before its official debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show by tossing it into a handful of commercials scheduled during the 90th Academy Awards. While the television spots seem to be intended to whet appetites prior to the vehicle’s launch later this fall, it’s the best look we’ve had at the model to date. That said, careful lighting and smoke machines allowed the XT4 to show plenty of leg without unbuckling its belt and giving us a real show.

The overall design is on par with what we’ve come to expect from present-day Cadillac, with vertical headlights cutting deeply into the front fenders. However, it looks to be a more shapely SUV than everything else the brand currently offers. Styling was clearly a priority here, and every element that identifies a model as a Cadillac appears to have been exaggerated without going too far.

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Don't Be Fooled by Misleading Ads This President's Day

It’s not fair to say there’s no truth in advertising; commercials often show vehicles driving in a straight line down a dry road, and we all know they can do that. Only the most gullible among us thinks a new muscle car will improve their love life faster than Billy Dee Williams can crack open a can of Colt 45.

All too often, smokin’ deals do not await shoppers who leave the house without reading the fine print. And even that fine print can hide whether you’re actually getting a bargain. With President’s Day coming up on Monday, here’s a few examples of juicy car promotions that are sure to waste someone’s time.

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MLK Ram Commercial Cleans Up, Controversy Be Damned

Far be it for us to suggest ulterior motives in an automaker’s marketing strategy (!). Unless you’re living in a primitive earthen hut with no electricity and using a rocky coastline as a latrine, you’ve no doubt heard of the hubbub surrounding Ram’s Super Bowl ad, which placed images of hard-working Americans alongside the words of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oh, and there was a 2019 Ram 1500 in there, too, working hard, as Rams are known to do.

By the time a dejected Tom Brady flew out of Minneapolis in his fashionable dress coat, collar popped, Fiat Chrysler’s “Built to Serve” ad had the Twitterati spinning on the floor, foaming at the mouth. A controversy was born. But is this a rare example of the target of online scorn…winning?

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Mercedes' Super Bowl Phone Game Sacked Over Technical Difficulties

Automotive advertising and the Super Bowl are intrinsically linked. Car spots populate the commercial breaks, the most valuable player gets a free truck, and there is usually a contest or two sponsored by a major manufacturer. This year, Mercedes-Benz had a rather clever idea: to create a digital version of the hand-on game where the last participant to break physical contact with a vehicle (usually a Hyundai) gets to take it home.

Scheduled to coincide with kick-off, contestants would keep their fingers planted on their phones for the duration of the game for the chance to win a brand new Mercedes-AMG C43. The last person to allow their digit to stray from the moving photo would be awarded the car. But there was a problem — too many people tried to play the Mercedes-Benz Last Fan Standing game and it immediately crashed.

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2018 Super Bowl LII Car Commercials – Live(-ish) Coverage!

It’s time.

The Super Bowl LII automotive commercials are upon us.

I’ll be posting them below the jump, in reverse chronological order from their appearance. Keep refreshing your page to see the latest!

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Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Commercial Round-up

The day is upon us. The Big Game. And I’m not talking about my daughter’s basketball game from which I’ll be rushing home.

It’s the Super Bowl of big games — also known as The Super Bowl. The one time per year when marketers shake off the rust and bring out the big guns for 30 seconds of expensive glory.

This year, perhaps slowed by a football matchup between two Northeastern teams, there have been few commercials revealed — at least so far — in the lead-up to the game. As I’ve done in years past, I’ll be live(ish) blogging all of the automotive commercials throughout the game, but below I’ll share, in alphabetical order, the ones that have already made their way to Youtube.

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Dream On: Kia's Steven Tyler Super Bowl Ad Is a Bizarre Bummer

While the staff at The Truth About Cars doesn’t decide a vehicle’s worth based on the advertising it’s associated with, we sometimes critique the choices automakers make within the marketing spectrum. Whether it’s Volkswagen’s subtle attempt to convince prospective shoppers to procreate or Aston Martin’s decision to use Tom Brady as its spokesmodel, we’ve got something to say.

Kia recently finished a TV ad, intended to debut during Super Bowl LII, where Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler hops into Stinger GT and literally turns back time. The spot begins with Tyler donning a racing suit in a trailer that includes a photo of himself (for some reason) before walking out to an abandoned oval track. Waiting for him is aged Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi and two Kia Stinger GTs.

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The 2018 Ford EcoSport Hacks Your Life

Ford has finally brought its subcompact crossover to the United States. The 2018 Ford EcoSport, pronounced “EchoSport” for some reason, is hitting dealer lots as I type. Available in other markets since 2012, the recently refreshed second-generation EcoSport arrives on our shores to take on segment favorites like the Mazda CX-3 and Buick Encore.

The world seems to love mini crossovers. Ford is late to the party here, but the Blue Oval crowd are trying to make up ground with a class leading vehicle the best they could do on a budget. We have not driven the EcoSport, but we have sat in it. If anyone asks, we did not break any trim pieces. After sitting in the EcoSport, opening its doors, touching its Cozy Coupe-grade plastics, using its inconvenient rear hatch, and not being able fit my feet into the back seat, it is obvious that it is not good. No road test will change that.

But here we are, and Ford needs to offer a product in this segment. Engineering a vehicle for Third World markets while GM brought the upscale-branded Buick Encore to the U.S. proved to be a misstep. Now Ford has to poach buyers, make bold moves, and go further. We all know what that means: a marketing campaign!

According to Ford, the EcoSport is here to hack your life.

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Lexus Pins Sales Hopes on Pricey Model's Movie Role

Okay, that headline’s just a tad disingenuous — Lexus knows exactly how to pick up new customers, and that’s by offering crossovers, crossovers, crossovers. Longer crossovers. Smaller crossovers. More seats and fewer seats.

Still, as much as an ever-expanding roster of utility vehicles can sway buyers to a brand, visibility counts for something. And a starring role in a potential blockbuster film isn’t something any automaker would pass up. Such is the case with Black Panther, a superhero movie for superhero-loving nerds, which Lexus feels is the perfect vehicle for pumping up a little brand recognition.

Lexus, you see, wants to be back on top.

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Lincoln Continues Relationship With McConaughey in Beautifully Perplexing Navigator Ad

Ford has been fine-tuning the Lincoln brand for a while now and improving the cars is only half the story. A luxury nameplate needs more than a lineup of quality autos, it needs prestige. Since taking on Matthew McConaughey as its official spokesmodel, Lincoln has witnessed an uptick in sales — growing by 1.6 percent year over year through November 2017 in the United States.

How much of that can be attributed directly to the Oscar-winning actor is up for debate. But you don’t mess with the formula when you start making headway, so Lincoln has decided to press onward with another weird add with him in the driver’s seat of the 2018 Navigator.

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Adventures in Marketing: Lincoln Hires a New Ad Agency

Another day, another chance for this author to write about the Lincoln brand. This time, we learn of the company looking outside the WPP ad agency for help marketing its new Lincolns.

The Glass House is not ditching its longtime partner. Instead, it’s turning to the Wasserman Media Group and their Laundry Service ad shop based in New York to handle social media for a new campaign for the redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator SUV.

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  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?