Get ready to laugh…
Every city in the USA has two things that you can count on. One is a personal injury attorney with an over-the-top, overly aggressive personality, frequently on billboards and commercials. Two is a local second-generation car dealership owner that is way too enthusiastic, has a cringy tagline, and always seems to toss their kids in their commercials. We bet you can think of an injury attorney and car dealership owner in both your hometown and current city that fit these descriptions.
These days, ads are usually avoided on streaming services. However, in the ‘80s-‘90s, the car dealership ad reigned supreme, buying up local air space like an obese person habitually purchasing combo meals with printed coupons.
History of Car Ads
Car ads originally got rolling in 1898, with the Winton Motor Carriage Company placing a magazine ad encouraging their readers to ditch their horses. Black and white adverts were replaced by gorgeous Art Deco illustrations.
It wasn’t until the ‘80s, nearly a century after the original marketing effort, that television became an important outlet for manufacturers and dealerships. Land Rover was the first to try over-the-top marketing, showcasing their Defender climbing the side of a dam.
While car companies put a ton of money into their televised offerings, dealerships went in the opposite direction, spending little on production. The concept: cheesy is memorable.
The Best of the Worst Local Dealership Ads of All Time
On average, car dealers spend around $300 per spot in production costs. However, with the rise in social media marketing, most dealers are turning to the internet to produce YouTube videos, appeasing the 68% of auto buyers claiming they purchased vehicles they found online.
Television is finite; all local dealership advertisements have been immortalized on YouTube, giving them a much longer exposure window.
The Most Fascinating Kia Sorento Dealer
First, let’s get this out of the way: this Burlington KIA commercial completely appropriates Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in The World” campaign. The fellow that says, “stay thrifty, my friends,” bares more than a passing resemblance to the beer-swilling Dos Equis brand ambassador. Throughout the commercial, the Sorento dealer’s likeness is printed on a $100 bill, is consumed by a Tyrannosaurs Rex, and surfs a wave. Yet, after all that, he struggles to put his hand in his blazer pocket.
Points for creativity, credit deducted for clumsy blocking.
Mopar Brody is a salesman with charisma to spare. In this ad, he’s talking about his Dodge Challenger Hellcat – a piece of machinery that gives him plenty of room to take his girlfriend’s kids to Chuck E Cheese.
Since posting his slew of entertaining videos online, Brody has gone viral talking smack about Mustang owners. Currently, he’s a salesman at Jeff Wyler Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Lawrenceburg.
Polar Bear Not So Polar
This one is kind of genius. Instead of producing the planned commercial, White Bear Mitsubishi opted to go with the unexpected.
A dealer walks with a duo of anamorphic mascots across ice. Sounds like a decent concept as is. However, the poor sap in the polar bear costume can’t walk properly on the frozen surface.
Again and again, the dealer delivers his lines, and is interrupted by the flailing bear. After a while, even standing still, the mascot falls on his face. The gopher is given ice skates; it seems purposeful that his counterpart must struggle on his feet.
Busy, Busy Dealership
Chaos. Pure chaos.
Somewhere in Michigan is a boxing, baby-saving salesman that doesn’t blink throughout the advertisement’s 30-second run time. Reminiscent of those “Harlem Shake” videos of social media trends past, Stuart MacDonald assures his potential buyers that he will ensure a smooth transaction, despite the absolute madness around him.
Although, for a man meant to make his establishment profit, handing off a stack of bills to the clueless man in the yellow polo is a strange transaction.
This one you had to live through to understand.
Lucky Lopez is dressed in his Walter White best, advertising a bundle deal of a vehicle with lockdown essentials. Sure, toilet paper is plentiful now, but in March 2020, TP sales ballooned 734% compared to the previous year. Shoppers prepared to hunker down wiped supermarkets clean of bathroom basics.
The vehicle is even advertised as zombie apocalypse ready. It hasn’t exactly aged well, considering how many people passed away during the pandemic… But whatever it takes to sell a car, right?
We don’t know who Joe Pepper is, but he embodies every bad stereotype people associate with a used car dealer. Adorned in the ugliest yellow suit jacket we have ever seen, Joe zips around a green screen, constantly “whacking” away all the concerns potential prospects have when they visit South Bay Toyota. Which is all well and good, but Joe has a case of the wandering eyebrows, making the ad very lowbrow.
The best part is the very early ‘90s rainbow swirl that appeared on every child’s shirt and notebook during the early part of the decade.
Buy a &$#! Car
Aired during the infancy of auto dealership promotions, this ‘60s car salesman couldn’t help telling it like it was. As the commercial progresses, Chick Lambert becomes increasingly profane, slipping in a curse word wherever he can.
We’re assuming the network’s censors were going crazy editing each slip of the tongue. We’re not quite sure what became of Chick, but we’re assuming he left the dealership right after this commercial was finished filming.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also like, “Top Auto Dealership And Car Sales Movies.“