Car Ads, Then and Now

When I guest lecture I try to impress upon is that the speed of communication in 2009 is changing, changing exponentially, over the way things were. Less isn’t just more, less is critical to your message. I hate to make a blanket statement, but the majority of people from my halfway-through-life age on down to especially kids these days, don’t read. It’s not that we don’t read or that nobody can anymore (many can’t but that’d be a much longer post), it’s that we’re bombarded. People don’t have to time to read ads, much less articles. There’s a reason why, while at the doctors office, WebMD, a magazine you only find in such places, instead of stories, they pretty much had snippets and soundbites, up to two or three a page. But it works, it truly does.

This isn’t a discussion about is this right or wrong, the soundbite being too short when the reality is there’s not black and white to things but shades of gray. I agree perhaps it’s a slippery slope where everything needs to be distilled into seven words, but again, to get through the clutter, it’s a necessity, unless of course, you don’t want your marketing to succeed, then by all means, write war and peace on an ad in 12 point type. people will be skipping right by you. That’s not how it’d done anymore, the motto “change or die” applies. Clients that get it, are viable, clients that don’t, nice knowin’ ya.

Anyways I’m a visuals person, so here’s some visuals. An AMC ad from the ’73:

We won... despite this heap steering like crap!

We won... despite this heap steering like crap!

Find yourself a time  machine and go back with $3,000 and this car can be yours, race car drivers not included. A little trivia, AMC was the first car company with a bumper-to-bumper warranty, granted it was only 12 months.

Balance this with an actual ad of today…

Toyota makes great cars, their agency makes great ads.

Toyota makes great cars, their agency makes great ads.

I’d love to pitch something like this to a client myself.

Here’s another goodie:

VW cars, tuned like a horn section.

VW cars, tuned like a horn section.

This is a European ad, in America all the funding to real orchestras has been cut (as well as most anything to do with creativity), hence most Americans probably can’t tell these are instruments. It’s a brilliant ad though. Go Europe!

Being a fan of Audi and an ex-owner, I don’t think this is their strongest ad, but it still gets the point across:

Audi, now sadly jumping into the SUV craze.

Audi, now sadly jumping into the SUV craze.

Then there’s an ad like the below, it needs no explanation.

Truth in advertising for the Hummer buying segment.

Truth in advertising.