Taking up advertising space on your TV is not a new concept, just the high price to have the prime spots during the Super Bowl is. For as long as there have been television commercials cars have been sold this way to show you a new car that would be the next great ride for your family to enjoy. While we often admire and love classic cars, let’s take a look at some classic car commercials that show us where advertising began and can give you a great idea of just how far we have come from those early days of advertising.
1960 Ford Falcon – Before the Peanuts gang was in the holiday business they were the group that showed up to sell the Falcon for Ford. This car was the best-selling compact car of the time and this commercial showed off several of the amazing features of the car during that time. Yes, this is a commercial that is a bit cheesy and slow to the point, but you get a great look at the car and get to interact with Linus which is always a lot of fun.
1960s Volkswagen Beetle – This ad has a ton of great elements about it. First of all it’s self-effacing, using humor and the fact the Beetle offered an odd shape compared to other cars on the road. While using this humor Volkswagen also speaks about how great the air-cooled Beetle is and the benefit of the German engineering. This ad is just one example of how the Beetle was better than most of the cars in the US and this type of advertising are still used today to teach some of the basics of advertising to new students in the industry.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS – This was the first ever commercial for the Camaro and as a new car of the time you can easily understand what this car had to offer. The narrator takes you on a tour of some of the amazing features of the car while you see the car virtually rise up from the volcano surrounding it. While this is certainly a cheesy commercial compared to what we see today, the point is simple that this is a strong muscle car that is ready to take on the road and be ready to be the car you want with the power you need to enjoy the ride.
1968 Citroen DS – This was one of the first cars that had corner-following headlights that would turn with the steering wheel to show you what was ahead around the corner. In this creative commercial all you enjoy is the music without narration, but with the night time drive of the DS you can see how the headlights work and what a driver would see around the corner of any turn when the steering wheel is turned. This classic commercial is done well and offers a look at some of the unique and attractive features of the car.
1971 Honda N600 – This wasn’t the first Honda commercial ever, but it makes a specific point. Until this time we were used to the large US cars that burned a lot of fuel and took up space on the road. The Honda N600 was completely different as a tiny compact car that would take up a lot less space and be a friendly car to drive. In this commercial you are presented with the idea of making your town ready for the Honda car to ensure you can have a great little car to drive and enjoy.
1975 Chrysler Cordoba – Not only did Chrysler land one of the best spokesmen ever in Ricardo Montalban but the car that offers soft Corinthian leather was a car that we wanted to drive, especially after seeing this commercial. The funny thing about viewing this commercial today is how the car is referred to as a small car when it really is a two-door land yacht, but at the time it certainly was a smaller car than most and seemed to be at home on the road carrying the classy and exotic cargo of Senior Montalban.
1980 Datsun 280ZX Tenth Anniversary – This commercial blends the funk of disco with the over the top look of a car that is made with black and gold combined to just be black gold. As the narrator tells you there was only a limited number of these made and one in perfect condition today would warrant a high price tag. This was a car that showed off great style and was a wonderful way to celebrate ten years in business. As a fully loaded model the commercial does a great job capturing your attention, even if it’s a little too retro.
1984 Chevrolet Corvette – This was the beginning of the fourth generation for the Corvette and it was a car that was offered with more digital readouts than any other. Touting engineering for all four corners to make a difference in your driving and even speakers at all four areas of the car to give you the best listening pleasure this commercial presents what felt like a futuristic theme for the time and a way for you to have a car that would be the most advanced car on the road at the time.
1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI – Before the Golf the GTI was in the Rabbit which was a fun little hatchback that offered the German engineering we wanted and the fun we had to have on the road. This commercial takes a classic Beach Boys song and adds some German language to it while being narrated in English to give you the full feeling of this being a fun and exciting car that was built for you to take on the road or track and get all the pleasure out of it you possibly could. This was the car more people wanted at the time for its great balance and right feel to go along with fuel efficiency at a time when the EPA was cracking down.
1980s Porsche 944 Turbo – If there is one thing Porsche has always portrayed it’s been confidence. This commercial asks what this car would eat and using a bit of competitive humor it asks to each Ferrari and Corvettes, giving you the sense this car could quickly beat both types of cars. Not only do we get the feeling this is a confidently perfect sports car, we also get the feeling it was 1980s fast with the time to sixty mph of 5.7 seconds portrayed at the end of the commercial.