Do you remember the Chevrolet Corsica, a car that somehow started life as a rental car? Seriously, it was first sold to fleet agencies in 1987 before being unleashed on the general public. Available with engines of some description pushing an amount of power to the front tires, this exceptionally whelming vehicle was certainly an improvement over the Citation, but that doesn’t seem like a difficult task to achieve. The Corsica isn’t a bad car, it’s just not particularly outstanding. This gave General Motors a problem, because how do you make a perfectly adequate car stand out? Well, you dial ‘M’ for marketing and hope that something good comes of it.
Unfortunately, the marketers dialed ‘A’ for aliens. Look, it was the 1980s, people were trying new things, sci-fi was big, and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” set a benchmark for cars and aliens, so let’s just see where this leads.
Ah, here we go, a Chevrolet Corsica cutting out while driving down a barren roadscape. Make all the reliability jokes you want, I know a Hollywood UFO abduction when I see one. Now, where’s that flying saucer full of little green men?
What the cinnamon toasted hell is that? I get that alien spacecraft probably wouldn’t all look like giant hubcaps, but come on. Really? Right in front of my bagel? Why does it have legs? Who signed off on this?
Anyway, the alien, um, craft descends and vacuums up the Corsica like lint off a rug while also spinning it around just to mess with the occupants. I presume that because it has legs, it can therefore kneel and just lower itself over the Corsica, but messing with earthlings just for fun is probably the most realistic part of this commercial.
Up in the ship, I’m guessing Wade Wilson would be a male model in these guys’ universe. Seriously, did The Flood from Halo get inspiration from these difficult to look at puppets or what? Also, can you imagine the conversation between the art director and the puppet maker to land on this look?
After a scaly hand caressing several square feet of impeccably beige sheetmetal, we land on this shot that I didn’t even edit. If this seems strangely seductive, get your mind out of the gutter, these aliens are talking about the car. The Impala necklace on the one dude should’ve said everything we needed to know — these extraterrestrial beings are Chevrolet, well, not exactly people in the traditional sense, but you get the gist.
It turns out that aliens don’t even need American currency to buy a Chevrolet Corsica because they can just clone an entire car including the people inside through some strange ritual involving a variant of jazz hands. And hey, what are all those bubbles in the background?
Oh, just a whole Chevrolet collection in bubbles, that’s all. Look, a pristine S-10 Blazer, a C4 Corvette, a C1 Corvette, and something that looks to be from the earlier part of the 20th century. Hey, we all have knowledge gaps. It’s a bit weird to think that aliens would come to our planet for the sole purpose of cloning Corsicas and Cavaliers, but it seems more productive than probing.
Once the cloning is over, the Chevrolet Corsica gets teleported back onto the road, which means the aliens were definitely just screwing with the occupants on the way up. As with every UFO cliché, the electronics work again, the car starts, and the family takes off down the road, singing a merry tune. Were their memories wiped or something because I don’t think I’d be the same after experiencing that.
It’s debatable exactly how this ad helped sell Corsicas, and my bet is something along the lines of it didn’t. However, I appreciate Chevrolet’s audacity to create a car commercial so thoroughly cursed in every imaginable way that it leaves viewers slack-jawed in amazement about the entire process, from conceptualization to distribution.
(Photo credits: Chevrolet, Meticulous Motors/YouTube)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.