Like most television advertising, adverts for cars have become more and more advanced as computer-generated image has progressed and marketing budgets have increased. Whether it’s pedalling the latest family car, or selling luxury sports cars to those that can afford it, car manufacturers pour amazing amounts of cash into creating iconic adverts that won’t be forgotten for years to come: hopefully it might make us by the car too!
Here are a few of our favourite TV adverts – both good and er, not so brilliant – from history. The Car of Tomorrow – The Reliant Robin With the tagline ‘The Future, Today!’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that this advert is talking about a hovercar, spaceship or something – in fact anything – other than the three-wheeled icon of British culture, the Reliant Robin. But no, watch in wonder as footage of a mustard yellow Reliant Robin is spliced into footage of an old TV show, as the hosts utters those immortal words ‘This car will only be available to you, the viewing public, in the year…2000!’
Nicole and Papa – Renault Nicole. Papa. Nicole. Papa. This emotionally-stilted conversational exchange between father and daughter became a continuing narrative in Renault adverts of the 1990s, although we’re unsure how much cars it actually sold. It’s now in the same viewed in the same vein as the Bisto family – we love them, but maybe feel a little uncomfortable that we’ve intruded into their lives.
Flow – Mini Countryman Not the first car manufacturer to use computer-generated imagery, but the amoebic-style splitting and reforming of a bright red Mini as it whizzes round the streets of a European city is one of the flashiest and slickest we’ve seen. Nice.
Slow down – Audi R8 In contrast to the previous advert, the use of computer-generated imagery and long-exposure cinematography emphasises the slow, hand-crafted creation of the Audi R8. A beautiful piece of visual marketing, it’s interesting to see how Audi market an incredibly fast car by using a long, drawn-out advert.
Released this year – Jaguar F Type Revealed this year, the Jaguar F Type advert on Youtube demonstrates the power of brand, as the actual car is never seen. Instead, computer-generated imagery shows a luxurious red cloth manipulated into the shape of the car it’s supposedly covering, complete with roaring sound effects. Powerful stuff.
Possibly the greatest advert of all time – Honda ‘The Cog’, an advert produced by Honda, has gone down in TV car advertising history as a brilliant use of the car it’s advertising in a unique way. Taking the parts of the Honda Accord, the team set up an interactive machine, with each mechanic of the car operating another in sequence. And all without any computer-aided activity! Just goes to show – sometimes old school techniques can make the most contemporary adverts.