Top 6 Most Memorable Car Advertisements Of All Time

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When it comes to advertising cars, manufacturers have a lot on their plates. They’ve got to show off how cool it would be to drive one of their automobiles, showcase the practical features and benefits, all while reassuring potential customers that they won’t have to find the best lemon lawyers in California to represent them because they bought a faulty ride.


That’s why car advertisements are often some of the most inventive and incredible. In fact, you’ve probably got a few favorites kicking around inside your skull right now—that’s how memorable car ads typically are. Only a few have earned the distinction of “most memorable,” however, and today we’re going to showcase six picks that fit the bill.




What do you do when you have a so-so automobile but you’ve still got to make it sound amazing? You make like the folks at Citroën and put a humorous spin on its mundane quality. Their 1984 ad boasted that this aging, outdated economy car was “faster than a Ferrari” (that was going at a fixed, low speed), had “as many wheels as a Rolls Royce,” and other such basics that really spoke to how “down-to-earth” this vehicle was.




Sometimes a little bit of humble-bragging can go a long way. That must have been Porsche’s reasoning behind their “Nobody’s Perfect” advert, which showed top finishers for the 1983 Le Mans results. Porsche, of course, secured 9 out of 10 of those top spots (Sauber/BMW got ninth place). Hence the ad—nobody’s perfect (but Porsche is as close as it gets).




It pays to take the occasional risk in your advertisements, and Audi is no stranger to pushing the boundaries. In their “Can’t Stop Driving” print ads, they didn’t even need any words to get the point across, just a photo of two bank robbers waiting on their ride. That ride would be an Audi, of course, with the implication being that if they trust it to get them away from the cops, it should serve you well no matter what situation you find yourself in.




What happens when you combine a sensible car brand like Volvo and over-the-top 90s action star Jean Claude van Damme? You get an amazing advert with said action star doing his trademark splits between two reversing Volvo trucks. What this tells us about Volvo as a brand and about their trucks specifically? That’s open for interpretation. What’s not, however, is the fact that the ad was well-received and really generated a lot of publicity for the company.




Quantity over quality? That may well have been the idea behind Daihatsu’s old 1996 print advert for their Hijet van. It’s not a good-looking vehicle, they’d readily concede, but as the ad reads, it “picks up five times more women than a Lamborghini,” in the literal sense, of course. Your “mileage” probably varied once you had it out on the streets and in front of the eyes of any potential midnight rendezvous.




Once again, humor and honesty combine to make a great piece of advertising. “You don’t need a big one to be happy,” Mini exclaimed in some of their older advertisements. That’s a technically true statement, and it applies to their cars as well!

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