Car ads are big business. Automotive News noted that car companies are some of the top spenders on advertising, shelling out billions of bucks on ads. Most car ads are slick and well-produced. Some are funny, some are exciting, and a handful are really weird. Not that that’s a bad thing. Sometimes oddvertising is especially memorable. Here are some of the weirdest and wildest car ads that stand out in my mind.
Dogs Making Out (Subaru)
Everyone loves dogs, but especially Subie owners. Subaru knows from market research that roughly 67% of their drivers have dogs. This notable when comparing to the American average of 44%, according to the ASPCA. So, the company launched an ad campaign called “Dog Tested. Dog Approved” that showed dogs doing people things in Subarus. Weird, but cute. Then there’s this one with two pooches on a hot date. Gross? Funny? You be the judge.
Rapping Hamsters (Kia)
Animals doing people stuff is usually a recipe for success, and this Kia commercial makes some degree of sense: get a Kia or you’re just another hamster on a wheel.
Then the hamsters started a hip hop collective and started rolling the mean streets of Hamsterdam. And why are the other hamsters driving around in toasters and washing machines? I guess we’ll never know.
Sock Monkey Entourage (Kia)
We don’t know what Kia’s marketing department was getting up to at the time, but they also turned out this ad where a sock monkey and his other toy friends go on an epic roadtrip/bachelor weekend, like Toy Story meets Entourage. Sweet.
Unpimp Ze Auto (Volkswagen)
Remember when Pimp My Ride was a thing? Volkswagen tried to cash in with this ad that features a car getting catapulted and an engineer saying “Oh! Snap!” in a hammy German accent while throwing VW gang signs. It sort of made sense at the time.
Then, Like, We Got, Like, T-boned. (Volkswagen)
The ending of this VW ad comes out of nowhere, kind of like a truck pulling out into traffic. I guess that’s one way to get the audience’s attention.
Cheating Death With Three Doors (Hyundai)
Hyundai decided to try the scare tactic route too, in this Dutch commercial that tries to spin the Veloster’s single rear door as a safety feature (I guess a weird car deserves a weird ad).
Adweek reports that Hyundai pulled the ad after deciding it was too shocking.
Blow Dry Your Face (Hyundai)
At least this Hyundai ad is a lot more upbeat. Driving a Hyundai will make you feel all the feels (or “Feel the Feeling” as the caption says). Especially those hairdryer in the face feels.
No Such Thing As Too Much McConaughey (Lincoln)
Lincoln’s ads with Matthew McConaughey were so out-there that Jim Carey parodied them on SNL.
But then Lincoln decided to double down in this ad where Matthew McConaughey chauffeurs another McConaughery across a rain slicked plain/shallow lake bed. I really hope the next set of Lincoln ads features three McConaugheys. That would be alright alright alright.
David Lynch and Big Blue Lips (Nissan)
In 2003, Nissan decided to have David Lynch direct a commercial for the European market. I’m not sure why Nissan decided that the guy who created Eraserhead and Twin Peaks was the right pick for the job, but I’m glad they did. Otherwise we never would have got to see floating blue lips chase a Nissan while creepily whispering made-up words like “simpology” or “spafe.”
Grace Jones’ Giant Head (Citroen)
Nothing makes me want to drive a Citroen more than watching actress Grace Jones drive one out of her own head, speed into the desert, jam a sick 180 degree turn, and drive back into her own head. But what’s all this about yams?
Never! Before! (Chevy)
You’ve never seen. Anything! Like This! Before!
I think they meant you’ve never seen anything like the 1984 Corvette before. But it could just as easily mean you’ve never seen anything like this totally rad ‘80s commercial before.
Beside that theme song, it’s also got an astronaut driving a Corvette on an alien planet and dodging lasers. And a dude playing violin for some reason. Basically, it’s got everything you could want in an ad.
Does it count if the ad is weird on purpose? The ads where you wonder “what in the world they were thinking?” are usually more fun, but this intentionally weird Volvo ad is just a blast.
According to Adweek A Swedish art director made this gonzo YouTube video to sell his own Volvo Wagon.
It got so much traction that Volvo sent him a new Sportswagon to make another video. The Swede renames all the car’s best features and honestly his names might be better than the real ones. If you’re anything like me, you’re going start calling your owner’s manual the “sacred book (with two free stickers).”
Do you have a favorite weird car ad that we missed? Share in the comments!