Selling cars is not an easy business, unless you are making ultra-cheap Ford Model T’s and people keep buying them because everything else sucks or is unaffordable. Therefore, car manufacturers now invest in ads in social networks and YouTube, as well as in image development, to make their cars look cool in the society’s eyes . However, before internet became a thing, automakers had to come up with really good ideas for TV commercials. Today NODUM presents some of the weirdest automotive commercials. And that is something you just have to see.

Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No, it’s a SAAB. Not so long ago Sweden had two large automotive brands – Volvo and SAAB. Volvo was always known for its safety and reliability, while SAAB was slightly more innovative and kind of crazier. Maybe it was just part of the SAAB spirit, since it began its history by actually making planes.

So take a look at this commercial of the SAAB 900 from the 1980’s.

Except its questionable production process and the lack of CGI to make the transformation a little more exciting, it is a pretty good piece. SAAB is using its strengths and is proud about being the only plane manufacturer to produces cars. But the SAAB airplane manufacturing practices never really translated into automotive endeavors. Furthermore, despite the fact that the parent company of SAAB Automobile did make fighter jets (and still does), some of the planes in these commercials were not made by SAAB.

Here is another example of SAAB trying to bridge the fighter planes and cars – a relation that simply did not exist.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI wasn’t even a car. There is no doubt that the Mk. 1 Golf GTI was a great car – it kicked off the entire trend of hot hatches. It was light and nimble and reasonably powerful for its size. And, unlike many other German cars, it had a sense of humor. So what would it’s commercial look like?

Some quirky 80s’music – a special German song, devoted to the greatness of GTI, some sideways action and a bold statement at the end.

So it turns out Volkswagen Golf GTI wasn’t even a car. Who would’ve though? It was a Volkswagen and not a car.

I like it going up and down. SAAB and Volkswagen ads were rather serious. MINI, however, always was a funny little car, meant to provide smart, comfortable way of travelling to everybody. And, of course, it was fun to drive too. But how do you encourage people to buy one? BMC, which owned MINI brand until 1968, decided to show that MINI suits everyone’s needs.

MINI had wind-up windows (big deal back in a day), decently powerful engine, incredible handling and looked rather nice too. So all of that had to be mentioned. Girl in bikini is enjoying windows a little too much…

Whoever you are, wherever you are, it is just a car for you. Commercial might be funny, but you shouldn’t laugh at MINI – it won the legendary Monte Carlo rally three times.

That’s not how to treat a LADA. Soviet Union and then Russia built many cars, many of which were absolute garbage. However, some of them were decent enough for them to make it to export markets, meaning that commercials had to be made to popularize them. For example, LADA Niva – a small SUV kind of thing. Nowadays we might even call it a crossover.

Here’s a commercial from Sweden, allowing you to relive Russian stereotypes and learn how to treat a LADA.

Do we have to tell you why this is funny? Well, let’s just say that Niva was not a hot hatch and didn’t really like going fast.

There are many interesting automotive ads. Before fancy editing techniques and CGI took over, directors had to rely on their creativity alone, which sometimes produced very artistic and sometimes very funny results.


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