Six Car Ads Better Than the Cars Being Advertised

Acurs MDX Ad

I saw Acura’s “Made For Mankind” television spot for the first time yesterday, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. It piqued my curiosity until I saw the uninspiring MDX crossover come into view.

Damn! And here I thought it was a teaser for the new NSX or something. It got me thinking about a few truly memorable ads better than the car being advertised. So I went on a time warp courtesy of YouTube, and here’s what I brought back:

Chevrolet Malibu – “Bank Robbery”

The Malibu has been dull for a long, long time, and even Chevy knows it. So here we have bank robbers getting away in an older Malibu, disappearing into the street as police struggle to spot the anonymous grey sedan. Chevy’s message: unlike its predecessors, the new Malibu stands out from the crowd and isn’t suited for blending in. Then it cuts to the ass end of a 2008 Malibu, the only view that doesn’t make the car completely forgettable. Props to the GM marketing team for realizing the old Malibu just wasn’t exciting, but a big minus for not realizing that it still isn’t.

Lexus Ls400 – “Balance”

Is the Lexus LS 400 a bad car? No, but it’s not the sort of car that really speaks to your soul. The commercial showcases the build quality of the luxury car, but it is assuredly the only LS400 that ever came close to 140mph.

Chrysler – “Born of Fire”

One of the famous “Imported From Detroit” ads that aired during the Super Bowl in 2011, “Born of Fire” is two minutes of assuring the public that Detroit and Chrysler have both been beaten down recently, but that’s the past and the comeback is now. Unfortunately, the car on display is the Chrysler 200, basically a refreshed Sebring, and that means a fresh coat of paint on one of the worst cars of the 2000s.

Saturn – “Sheet Metal”

Focusing on the people who buy Saturns rather than the cars themselves was exemplified in this 2002 commercial, but it was really Saturn’s outlook the entire time. GM’s grand experiment was all about customer service, but the business side of Saturn really never came together. For a while, appealing to people on a personal level paid off for Saturn even when their cars weren’t particularly memorable. The fact that this ad was for the LS, Vue, and Ion says it all.

Fiat Palio – “The Cyclist”

I don’t know anything about the Fiat Palio, but its Wikipedia specs don’t seem too terrible thrilling, so it makes the list. Great commercial that brings back memories of John Travolta’s Chevy Malibu monologue in Pulp Fiction.


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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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