It’s the weekend! The time you allow your brain to relax, oozing out all of the harmful thoughts and fluids of the week, and scrubbing those brain-tubes clean, ready to absorb all the new ideas and kindness and wonderment your weekend has to offer. Well, that’s what would happen, normally, if it wasn’t for me ruining absolutely everything by subjecting you to a bunch of miserable audio-automotive brain worms, because I’m a monster who isn’t happy until his own internal demons spread across the world, like tendrils of some unholy ivy. Sorry. With that in mind, let’s check out these five absurd old car commercial music nightmares!
The criteria used to select these is simple: what old-ish car commercials had the ability to plant a song (or, more commonly, a tiny, miserable fragment of a song) into my head, and there it would stay, until I seriously would consider using something like a hammer to attempt to remove it. And now, the goal is to plant one or more of these into your head, too! You’re welcome!
Ride, Pontiac Ride! (Or Drive, Pontiac, Drive?)
Okay, maybe I kinda like this one in a perverse way. It’s just so fucking earnest, like you know everyone in there absolutely, in that moment, believed that Pontiac built excitement, and they felt that call of the road, deep, deep in their netherwhatsits. It’s the ride, Pontiac ride! part that gets stuck in my head. Get on your Pontiac and ride! Or are they saying “drive?” I’m not sure. Sometimes I play this in our Slack room and demand everyone sing.
That Scion One With The Dipshits At The Party
Oh god, I hate this one. It was for some Scion limited edition anniversary thing, and while the start with all the car clunking sounds is kinda cute, when the people start rhythmically saying the model names in that patter, it kinda makes me want to explode. Why is it so irritating? And why does that lady saying eff arreee esss lodge so cruelly in my head? Ugh, make it stop!
Ooooooh Like A Rock!
Ooof, you all know this one. Oooooooh, like a rock! Try not to belt that out after hearing this. It’s so cloying and saccharine and based on the video, it seems like these Chevys exist in a world where nobody can just put something in something else, they have to drop it from some height with a clonk and a cloud of dust, like whatever the hell is in that truck bed, or that dude’s really filthy toolbox.
Ugh, enough with the rock.
So, Have You Driven A Ford? Lately? Asks The Woman And A Choir Incessantly
This one grates on me because the only part that sticks is that last bit with the swelling HAVE YOU DRIVEN A FORD? and then the little “lately?” and the rest of it is unmemorable high-pitched filler. Like that “When was the last time you had a car like this to drive?” as a freaking Tempo lumbers around. Though this does have a clip of that Tempo driving all around that giant “O” from this ad:
So, you know, that’s something. I’m glad Ford got a bit more out of whatever they spent to do that.
You Asked For It, You Got It, Toyota, The Fuck Around And Find Out Of That Era
Okay, the jingle is only at the end of this ad, and it can lodge in your head irritatingly, but let’s talk about this weird-ass ad.
First, it’s in a library? A college library? And why does the big guy say to the guy he calls “Brain,” “If I can find a car built like me.” The fuck does that mean? Tall? Skinny? Too old looking to be in college? Able to wear a cardigan?
And then the conceit of the ad is that Big Man on Campus’ wish for a car built like him that he can get for “under $3,000” is realized, as a Corolla pops into existence right in the middle of the library? Accompanied by the very justifiable screams of the librarian?
Did this help people choose cars? Was anyone cross-shopping a Corolla, a VW Rabbit, and maybe a Renault LeCar or Honda Civic and was pushed to get the Toyota because they really thought it handled being materialized into a collegiate library better than any of its competitors? I don’t get it.
Anyway, now the jingle is in your head.
I guess I’m sorry I did this to you. Have fun this weekend, anyway.
For those of us in SE Michigan:
YOU SHOULD BE DRIVING A KIA FROM SUMMIT PLACE KIA
This is exactly what came to mind when I saw the title
“Ooh, Ooh, Subaru….Got the brains and the Beauty too!”
And, of course,
“Chevy Ci TAAAAAAAAAAA tion!”
That Pontiac ad is awesome. I want to go browsing the internet classifieds for a Trans Am GTA *right now*. And the ‘Like a Rock’ Chevy truck commercial is among the best car ads ever produced, it doesn’t belong in this list of misfits.
That Scion ad now, that’s completely dreadful. And the ‘have you driven a Ford lately’ lady has brought up some long-suppressed memories, making me grit my teeth all over again.
Honda UK’s “Hate Something, Change Something” commercial. It’s proof that an automotive jingle can be an ear worm but also excellent.
I don’t think they’re anything better in a car commercial than a guy who sounds like the narrator from the Big Lebowski singing about hate leading to innovation . . . in diesel technology.
Does anyone remember “Another One Buys a Datsun” (Another One Bites the Dust) or “Help me Honda, yeah, get the car that I want” (Help Me Rhonda)? I watched way too much TV when I was a kid in the late ‘70’s/early ‘80’s, and those earworms are still with me today.
Re: Like a Rock.
I can’t believe no one mentioned Ricardo Montalban shilling for Plymouth: VO-LAR-RE! Sorry to remind y’all. No, not really.
Toyota’s “Hot, hot, hot”
Look around and what do you see? A beautiful world or just a rebadged Jeep Liberty?
Maybe you’re in the mood for hot dogs, apple pie and serious malaise?
How about a ride with Honda’s Hoodie Ninja? *imitates John Goodman* “More like nonja!”
I could go all day. YouTube has become the Satellite of Love.
Also oh oh oh oh what a feeling, Toyota!
The Buick commercials that keep using the 3 notes from Matt & Kim’s It’s Alright. not a bad song, but their commercials just loop the 3 notes somehow 500 times in 30 seconds.
And now the GM ev commercials with Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”. I feel like they’re trying to play off the dude skateboarding to it Dreams all chill but couldn’t get the rights so went with Everywhere and now everybody’s starting to play it again and it’s ruined for me.
Also, Buick’s been using that for years and years. It feels tired, but maybe that’s the “it’s a Buick?” or attempts at cheeky humor that just wear it down.
I like in that Tempo ad how they focus on ergonomics as a feature. I think that is due a comeback. A car ad that actually gives you a reason why you should actually buy it rather than some (here in Aus where we cannot have anything fun like a driver actually enjoying themselves) marketers idea of a vacuous young person driving in a straight line through some purple power and some doof
Maybe it’s nostalgia about my childhood, but I think the 80s and 90s commercials we are sharing here are so much better than the car commercials on TV today. Today’s commercials are mostly promoting sale events or financing, are annoying/dumb, or merely show the vehicles going from cities to off-road. They don’t really show off the vehicle or tell me why I should buy it. I did enjoy the recent Chevy electric vehicle commercial with Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.” It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to an 80s car commercial recently.
Here’s a commercial I used to sing along with as a kid. Chevy’s Heartbeat of America. Probably going to be stuck in my head the rest of the day now.
Not car related, but a dealer in ct use to have a radio add they must’ve paid extra to run 6 times a hour it seemed…
“Hi, I’m Jill Merriam…. ….. I wanna see ya in a kia”
They always cut just before Jill says “wouldn’t wanna be ya”.
Oh, God, Jill Merriam. Don’t forget, she’s a “dealer for the people.”
This one has stuck in my head for decades,
Nothing will ever top this gem of a Corolla commercial from 1986:
I am still haunted by my childhood and Dinah Shore
See the USA in your Chevrolet…
And then nightmares from that guy flying into his car by Hertz. Help me, I am being taken to a world where gravity does not exist and car rental companies take you and put you is some land yacht by flying. Being put into the driver seat, my eye. They forced them into it.
I’ll just leave this nightmare from my youth right here….
Taurus, for us!
Ford made it for us and we got what we deserved.
Missed opportunity not incorporating Robocop into this campaign.
To the credit/damnation of whoever wrote that jingle, I was single digits in age when that commercial came out, nearly 40 years later I still can’t help but sing it in my head nearly every time I see a 1st gen Taurus, and occasionally newer ones as well….
Now for the best dealer ads ever… Firesign Theater before they were big doing ads for Jack Poet Volkswagen.
I went down the rabbit hole, these are great!
Now the albums. Start with “Waiting for the Electrician…or someone like him”
Not from a manufacturer, but still a car-related ad:
1-877-KARS 4 KIDS
The worst jingle ever associated with vehicles. I completely stopped listening to radio to avoid possibly hearing this ad… and then they started buying billboards which caused the same terrible jingle to rattle around in my head. Even posting about it has started it up. My day is ruined.
Those have got to be the worst radio ads that have ever existed.
Oh My God Yes. I can’t dive for the mute fast enough.
I was going to donate all of my cars, but that ad changed my mind.
I can turn off my radio within 3 taps of the cymbal at the start of that horrible advertisement, and I typically don’t turn it back on. Radio stations should consider how many people tune out during intentionally annoying ads. It can’t be worth running them.
That ad is also a scam, in my opinion. The ‘charity’ is a summer camp for kids in Long Island. You’d think your helping to cure cancer or something. But no.
And to this day, the lousy tightwads have not given a single car to a kid!
I listen to local news radio in the shower every weekday morning because I’m 87 years old. Kars 4 Kids will run their ad every day for about a month and every day I am unable to turn off the radio because I’m in the GODDAMN shower. 30 seconds later, I’ve turned the water completely cold to induce hypothermia so the jingle will finally stop.
I hope the individual who wrote that deeply unpleasant jingle was forced into witness protection.
For me it’s the Toyota “Oh! What a feeling!” ads like this one:
But any of them will do. And by “do” I mean “implant an ear worm that won’t go away.” Oddly, they don’t even sing it over and over, but it still somehow sticks in my brain. Maybe it’s enhanced by the weird jumping and the fact that really, I know if I’m driving one of these Toyotas the only thing I’ll be feeling is I wasted time driving an appliance when “I coulda had a V8!” (augh! another one! and not even technically car-related…).
All killer, no filler.