In the marketing world, car manufacturers have earned a bit of a reputation for producing some of the best adverts of all time. After all, they’ve got the budget, plus a product that is powerful, desirable – and often a bit sexy too.
Despite this, many manufacturers and ad agencies still only manage to produce something average, yet there are a handful that, for a number of reasons, stick in our minds for years to come.
The LeaseCar.uk team have gathered together some of the best car adverts to air over the last few decades, to celebrate the unrelenting endeavours of car brands and their creative teams to produce campaigns that capture and resonate with audiences around the globe.
- Peugeot 206: The Sculptor (2003)
Possibly one of the most iconic car adverts of all time, this was filmed in Jaipur, India, and shows a man going to great lengths to adapt his Hindustan Ambassador to resemble a Peugeot 206 after seeing it in a newspaper advert.
- Citroën C4: Robot Dance (2004)
Citroën earned its place in the TV advertising hall of fame with the promotion of the C4 Couple, featuring the classic dancing car-bot.
Discovering itself alone in a car park, a silver Citroen C4 breaks out to the sound of Les Rythmes Digitales’ “Jacques Your Body”. Despite being a really simple concept, it proved extremely effective and went on to win a Bronze Film Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival in 2005.
- Renault Clio: Papa and Nicole (1990s)
This memorable series of car adverts followed the antics of Nicole, her papa, and their complicated love lives. These adverts ran for seven years throughout the 1990s and garnered huge public interest in their story and who Nicole was to marry.
In 1998, approximately 23 million people watched the finale spoof of The Graduate, as Nicole abandoned Vic Reeves at the altar to run off with Bob Mortimer in his new Clio.
- Honda Accord: The Cog (2003)
Following the convention of a Rube Goldberg machine, this advert follows a chain of colliding parts taken from the Accord. The campaign was very successful both critically and financially, as Honda’s UK domain saw more web traffic in the 24 hours after the advert’s TV debut than all but one UK automotive brand received during that entire month!
- Škoda Fabia: Cake (2007)
Presenting a car that was literally good enough to eat, Škoda created their incredibly memorable car ad, titled simply ‘Cake’, in 2007. It follows the process of a team of bakers crafting a life-size cake in the shape of the second-generation Fabia hatchback to the tune of Julie Andrews’ “My Favourite Things”.
The campaign has since been credited for the significant improvements in awareness and public opinion of the brand and received a number of honours from advertising festivals and awards ceremonies.
- Mercedes-Benz Magic Body Control: “Chicken” (2013)
What do chickens and Mercedes-Benz have in common? More than you think, apparently, as “Chicken” shows a demonstration of chickens’ bodies being moved around while their heads remain still, to reflect the “magic body control” functionality of Mercedes V8 cars.
- Volkswagen Golf: Just Like a Golf (2009)
In an attempt to position the Golf as the best in class, VW launched a TV ad highlighting how it has become a ubiquitous name – and not just in the motoring world.
From a witness to a road traffic incident to a woman renting a hire car, the public are seen using the word ‘Golf’ as a descriptor for a hatchback car that isn’t actually a Golf.