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The 10 best printed car ad of all time

For some time, I am an avid fan of car ads and commercials. The one minute of entertainment and joy that these commercials bring (if they work, of course) makes them a worthy topic for a short post, as their cinematic quality often brings a lot of substance. In some cases, the teasers and behind the scene sections with Hollywood stars often have more stuff to write about than the cars themselves. Well, that is certainly not the case with printed ads, which may prove quite entertaining, but still lack the depth to fill out an entire post per ad. Thus it quickly became clear that the topic will not go beyond a single top list.

In fact, after a first quick browsing through the candidates, I decided to limit the top list to ten candidates. In case somebody knows better printed ads, and feels the urge to deliver justice, feel free to leave a comment.

Before we get on with the list, here are some of the posters which I did NOT deem worthy: there might be to the point and funny ads, but for some reason, they did not age well. It gets even worse if that is also true to the car advertised.

In other cases, the advertisement would still work fine, but the product itself does not really live up to its promises. The Ford Focus mk II towing an icebreaker vessel looks very cool, but there is a striking lack of competence for a car that does not feature at all-wheel drive solution on its price list.

I also tend to leave out advertisements that are actually funny, but still, brag about inexistent virtues…

Now that we laid down the basic principles, it is time to bring on the list…

10 The concept of a Volvo turbo wagon, adequately illustrated

Let’s start with an ad that may seem like a mannerism by today’s standards, but I think this one is still spot on. At those days, the sportwagon concept could well be in need of the illustration, we are well before the proliferation of overpowered station wagons from Germany.

9 Daihatsu’s minivan, that can pick up five times more women than a Ferrari

I could definitely not contradict that ad…: )

8 VW Transporter ad – hommage to a classic of photography

It is particularly effective as it features its core market, the craftsmen, and explains rather well the benefits of quality equipment.

7. Bridgestone exploded the boundaries of bragging

That’s a nice one, of course, it was probably funnier to revisit the ad in 2005 when they faced embarrassments proportionate to the bragging of this ad.

6. Cuteness in the air…

No comments needed…

5. With some bragging potential, but wan can you do if you only make that kind of mistakes…

With such a legendary racing history, I accept it as is a statement of fact. In such situation, even a humble statement may end up as bragging.

I add one more from Stuttgart. It speaks of Germany, although it could be applicable to other countries that employed 911s as ultimate Highway interceptors.

At the 2015 Amsterdam Car Show, I saw about half a dozen classic Porsches with the livery of the Dutch police. A very informative member of the historic 911 police car club explained, that at some point of time (the glorious 80’s) the Royal Dutch highway police possessed the biggest Porsche fleet in the world.

4 Another one that needs no explanation…: )

3. Hotwheels hacked reality.

Two posters to launch reality into another dimension…

2. An evergreen NCAP ad, with a plethora of memes

The original ad itself is already brilliant…

But perhaps the memes inspired by the original that blew my mind…

1. No holds barred poster war between Alpha males, on the ground in Air, and above

Although it started out as a local skirmish between two American dealers, this was widely covered around the world…


The first blood was drawn by Audi with (with reference to an earlier ad about chess) challanges  the other brand from Bayern by asking: Your move? The BMW dealer from Santa Monica bring swift justice by not missing the low hanging fruit: Checkmate.

The reply is spot on, also due to the poor weapon of choice from the challenger. Probably still under the effect of the knockout, Audi tries a weak attempt to counter the blow, but is only wasting valuable resources, by bringing in reinforcements from the top of the brand’s line-up on its next poster: “Your pawn is no match for our king”.

At this stage, the Audi dealer had recourse to the armory of the mighty VW Group, but nothing could save from the devastating final blow that car from above the BMW production line-up. Literally…

If you know better ones, feel free to let us know in the comment section.

A non-partisan yet active car-maniac.