Photo: via YouTube
As highly as we might think of the Web, there’s nothing quite as powerful as a television commercial. It takes millions of ad budget dollars and the perfect slot during the most widely watched show of the week. When it’s done correctly, a great car commercial doesn’t just capture eyeballs, it rivets us, and makes us consider something we may never have imagined ourselves driving.Whether they were funny, sexy, ironic, or just plain weird, this year’s best car ads showed off the power of the TV spot. And they weren’t confined to television: since Web streaming’s become ubiquitous, those clever TV ads went long-form on the Internet, in some cases finally making more sense than in their brief 15- or 30-second televised form.
With 2011 behind us, it’s the time to take a look back at some of the best car commercials from the past year. Plug in your earbuds, and see if your favourites make it to the top of this list. The first batch takes us from the controversial, to the lighthearted, to the purely puzzling.
14) Not everyone deserves a parade, but driving the 40-mpg Ford Fiesta earns one in this clever ad. The Fiesta's a pretty big deal for Ford, and this car ad won the Best Green Ad award from the 5th Annual Nielsen Automotive Ad of the Year Awards, so it sneaks into the 2011 consideration.
13) How do you promote a minivan to guys? Loud rock music, fireworks, and panthers. Panthers, of course! Honda conned us into loving the new Odyssey van with this ad and with one that showed today's kids aren't all awful, since at least some of them know vintage Ozzy.
12) It's a good thing when automakers thrash their own cars in their ads. Earlier this year Chevrolet called out the competition directly when it claimed it had to detune the Corvette to meet racing standards. That's a stretch if you know enough about the race cars versus the roadgoing cars, but it made for great ad copy, and for an entertaining commercial.
10) Earlier this year Infiniti launched its first hybrid, and it's being marketed as a performance model. If you buy into that, you'll buy into the commercials--especially the one M35h hybrid ad that uses Lexus' tag line against them.
9) BMW spent big dollars during the Super Bowl earlier this year to promote the new made-in-America 2011 X3. While the commercial isn't groundbreaking or hilarious, it shows the company's pride in its South Carolina operations, and that we can appreciate.
8) Another Super Bowl ad we enjoyed this year was Meredes-Benz's cinematic full-line ad. With P. Diddy and quite a few hot classic models, the commercial had fans of the pointed star salivating.
7) Another Chevrolet commercial that caught our attention was the Camaro's Super Bowl spot. Who hasn't been hot for teacher?
5) Everyone loves a triumph, including Mercedes-Benz. We love how Benz' ad crew integrated the new SLS and its hallmark gullwing doors into the commercial so seamlessly, and put them in perfect context.
1) Our single favourite car ad of the year? The new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth commercial. Hilarious, sexy, and aggressive, the ad somehow finds a way to play the usual car-ad sexism for maximum fun, and impact. We could get used to car ads with a brain and a body--car ads like this one.
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