The greatest car commercials of all time

The greatest car commercials of all time – words Alexa Wang

Advertising is so important. Nail the commercial and you’re onto a winner, right? According to research, showcasing your product on television is responsible for 71% of advertising-generated profit, with a four-fold increase on your investment over three years.

This is also helped thanks to the growing synergies with online videos, with motion content four times more effective in 2016 than it was in 1996.

So, it’s no wonder companies bend over backwards to get their product engrained in the public’s mind. Whether it’s the Honey Monster munching away on Sugar Puffs, a belly that’s ‘gonna get ya’ advertising Reebok, or a monkey drumming away for Cadbury’s, brands in every sector put a lot of effort into perfecting their on-screen advertising. Here, with Lookers, who have a wide range of disability cars, we look at the best car commercials to have graced our screens.


I see you baby…

The iconic advert for Renault’s new Megane design saw the distinctive rear end of the car darting about the streets, while shaking derrieres flashed in and out of shot. However, it wasn’t widely appreciated when it hit our screens in 2003. So many wobbling rumps prompted 139 viewer complaints and the television watchdog slapped a ban on the advert being aired before 7.30pm.

Va Va Voom

Renault were at it again when the introduced their new Clio design with the help of French footballing superstar, Thierry Henry. In 2001, the Arsenal forward was brought in to help the stereotypical ‘women’s car’ become more gender neutral. Adding ‘a little bit of va va voom’ certainly didn’t alienate the female viewers either, and the car – as well as the advert – is still a popular choice for the British public.

Safety first

Volkswagen has seen two recent TV ads banned due to concerns about encouraging irresponsible driving. One, which showed a son growing up, resembled a daddy/daughter advertisement from 2013. However, while the recent clips show a father being concerned as his son is involved in near-misses behind the wheel, the past effort tugged on the heart strings a lot more – and avoided being chopped!

The Volkswagen Polo was at the centre of the advert which watched a dad protecting his daughter throughout her life before eventually handing her the keys to her new car – a one she can feel safe in. What a great story line!

Going home

Born on the track, built for the road. That’s the message from Audi in their 2016 advert that sees a pick of their best models heading for Le Mans. To the backing of a haunting version of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Homeward Bound’ track, the screenplay pays homage to the car manufacturer’s golden era in the motorsport, in which they won 13 out of 18 races, before they turned their attention to Formula E. The ad featured RS models, including the TT RS Coupé and the R8 Spyder.

It’s good to be bad

First aired at the Super Bowl, this ad by Jaguar had to be a hit as there was a huge audience expecting – and it didn’t disappoint. Featuring the Jaguar F-Type Coupé, prominent British actors Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong portray the British bad guy culture that has been built up by Hollywood.

Singin’ in the rain

In 2006, Volkswagen introduced the original Golf GTI, but updated. In doing so, they effectively remade Gene Kelly’s famous singing in the rain sketch from 1962, but with a new body-popping dance routine.  Finishing up his smooth moves, Gene eventually stops outside of parked up Golf GTI to bring an end to a well put-together commercial.


We all love Transformers – whether it’s the toys or the movies or, in this case the advert. Citroen released this ‘groovy’ commercial with a dancing Citroen C4 robocar in 2007 along with the slogan ‘alive with technology’. Next time you hear Jacques Your Body by Les Rythmes Digitales, why not try to bust the moves as well as a Citroen?

Piece of cake

In 2007, Skoda took advantage of our baking addiction when they created a life-size Skoda Fabia made entirely of cake. With the slogan ‘full of lovely stuff’, the manufacturer forked out £500,000 on the advertisement in a bid to give the brand a new lease of life. The scrumptious-looking cake, which featured 180 eggs, 100kg of flour, 100kg of caster sugar, 30kg of almonds and 65kg of dried fruit showcased the car’s attractive design in a bid to leave viewers’ mouths watering.

What the cluck?

A very strange advert indeed, but one that sticks in the mind; once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it. Step forward the dancing chickens of Mercedes-Benz. The German manufacturers simply use chickens to illustrate ‘stability at all times’ and ‘magic body control’ with their smooth motions going in time with the backing track.

Piece by piece

The Honda Accord burst onto the scene with a bit by bit ‘domino effect’. The Japanese manufacturers used every cog of the car to knock into another in a creative fashion before eventually introducing the new model with a pull-down banner. Great patience must have been had by the ad’s director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet to successfully pull off the masterpiece.

So, there you have it! Ten of the best automotive commercials to have graced our screens. With so many of the ads being remembered more than a decade on, it’s clear that effective advertising is crucial. What brand will produce the next memorable video to help them sell more cars?





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