There has been some truly great car advertising campaigns over the years, this is not a list of those campaigns. This is a list of the ones that got it wrong. Those campaigns that either manage to patronise their audience or confuse them, and everything in between. It’s fair to say many of them were a product of their time, when casual sexism was just another selling technique. So let’s look back at some of the worst seen:
Researching for this was tough because there was a lot of adverts using sexism to some degree and they are pretty cringeworthy, but it’s the really blatant ones which stand out. Here Avis are trying to tell you, if you rent a Jensen, you too could be looking down a lady’s top, in your ‘pulling machine’- classy.
It’s not clear if this was supposed to be ‘tongue in cheek’ or not. It manages somehow to sit on a fine line between how someone would really dress and a stereotype. You can’t be sure whether it is a joke or an aspiration. Either way it doesn’t work and it doesn’t make you want to buy an Escort.
We are back to the sexist card again; cue barely clothed woman and a man smoking. Triumph seem to of pretty much wrote the book on sexist adverts in the 70s and this is just a snippet. What we are supposed to read into this is that the triumph tr7 is a bed for having sex in. Ironically given the very tight interior of a tr7 it’s probably the worst car to try anything like that in.
This is a peculiar one from the states. It’s tried to engage it’s audience by asking it a question. However it comes across more confused than anything. Instead of just saying it’s the most luxurious car, it asks ‘is it the most luxurious car?’. The potential buyer therefore is left none the wiser.
This one from MG really sets the sky as the limit. ‘You can do it in an MG’ in this case that would be; park by a parking meter? Or dress like a traffic warden?
It’s annoying when a car company isn’t clear about who it is aiming it’s car at. Your driving a long in your car wondering if it’s a bit girly. Luckily Dodge are to the rescue. The advert addresses men 5 times- Look no further MEN! Women you may look elsewhere.
MG are back again with some more worldly insights, this tag line was quite a famous one and successful too. However this particular advert managed to confuse the message slightly. In this case your mother wouldn’t want you stopping by road side cafes with burley men. Well at least it’s specific.
Another one from across the pond. There’s confusing messages and messages that just don’t make any sense at all. This one is trying to say we’ve kept the price low, a simple message, unless you end up by saying ‘cheap cars should be cheap’ which is more like something a drunk person would tell you.
Think there is any missed, feel free to share your favourites.