Ad agencies have probably one of the toughest jobs in the world. In as little as 15 seconds, they have to cement their client’s product into your memory and not annoy you in the process.
In an age rampant with TiVo and click-though web advertising, it is getting harder for companies to grab your attention. This has forced already brilliant ad agencies to become more creative. Some use humor, some use celebrities, and some use arresting visuals. If executed well, commercials can become as memorable as some famous movies scenes.
In celebration of the North American International Auto Show, the advertising publication “The One Club” has posted their top 10 list of best automobile commercials in the past 25 years. You may disagree with some of their choices, but we can’t deny that all of their selections deserve a nod of respect.
Here are a few of our favorites:
“The Force” – The commercial that became a viral internet sensation. The 2011 Volkswagen advertisement features an adorable, pint-sized Darth Vadar who attempts to use the Force on both animate and inanimate household occupants. Much to his dismay, he is unsuccessful. However, with steadfast determination (and a little parental help), he is able to “force” a Passat to start. Hilarious and endearing, this commercial by L.A. based ad group Deutsch grabbed the attention of both Star Wars fans and anyone who ever wished they had superpowers as a kid.
“Cog” – Executed in one continuous shot and devoid of any special effects, this 2003 Honda spot showcased the reliable but rather vanilla Accord as an engineering masterpiece. Triggered by a single, rolling cog, we follow an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine made of the Accord’s bits and pieces. Advertising the Accord using only the Accord? It sounds like a marketing riddle. This time, however, ad agency Wieden+Kennedy’s cleverness paid off.
“Milky Way” – Often mistakenly called “Pink Moon” on the internet, this 1999 commercial for the Volkswagen Cabrio introduced the late Nick Drake to a new generation of music lovers, vaulting the “Pink Moon” album to number 5 on the Amazon.com sale charts. Drake’s melancholy chords provide the perfect soundtrack to this atmospheric spot, which portrays a group of youthful friends enjoying a quiet, ethereal ride to a raucous house party, which they ultimately decide to abandon to continue their midnight drive. The spot highlights the intimacy felt inside a car interior, with its occupants sharing experiences such as star gazing and reaching for flying, cottony seeds. By the end of “Milky Way,” ad group Arnold Worldwide successfully reassures us that it’s okay to remember the ride more than the destination.