How not to sell a car in ten easy lessons
From the most naff to the most improbable, here are some of the worst car-based TV and film commercials we’ve ever seen
Some television and cinema commercials linger in the memory due to their sheer dreadfulness, simple ill-timing or the power to elicit a negative form of amazement. Here are ten such masterpieces.
History does not relate how many French motorists immediately craved a new Austin on seeing this commercial, but we are fairly certain it wasn’t that many. To be fair, the Allegro has been an easy target for too many years, but it still remains hard to imagine that any Citroën GS or Peugeot 304 owner would be tempted by the joys of British Leyland motoring.
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The Maestro is in many respects an underrated car, but this gem of an advert a) resembles the trailer for a sub-par 1970s British sci-fic epic and b) employs an announcer who sounds as though he is warming up for his King Lear audition.
British Leyland range
A 61-second illustration of why selling all of BL’s marques under a single corporate brand was doomed to failure; few potential XJS or SD1 owners wanted to be reminded of the existence of the Allegro or Marina, let alone have them feature in the same publicity.
The original Maserati Quattroporte was built between 1963 and 1969. It was a large sedan car powered by 8 cylinder engines—both firsts for a series production Maserati. The task of styling it was given to Turinese coachbuilder Pietro Frua, who drew inspiration from a special Maserati 5000 GT he had designed in 1962 for Prince Karim Aga Khan. While the design was by Frua, body construction was ca
Model History Like other manufacturers, after World War II Fiat continued producing and updating pre-war types. The first blank sheet design was the 1950 1400, the first with unibody Fiat, which took the place of the 1935 1500. Fiat's intermediate offering between the 1500 and the diminutive 500 was the 1100 E, the last evolution of the 508C Nuova Balilla 1100 first launched in 1937. Its replac
Keeping in line with the Ferrari 'tradition' of that time, the 250 GT Lusso was designed by the Turinese coachbuilder Pininfarina, and bodied by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. Although the interior was more spacious than that of the 250 GT, the 250 GT Lusso remained a two-seat GT coupe, unlike the 250 GTE. The car was manufactured for just eighteen months, from early 1963 to mid 1964, and was the last mo
The Aston Martin DB4 was first unveiled at the 1958 London Motor Show, to rave reviews of the public. The car proved to be a significant achievement for the then small British manufacturer. The monocoque punt-type chassis, developed under Harold Beach, featured coil-over A-arm front suspension with an anti-sway bar and a live rear axle, which was located by trailing arms and a proper Watts linkage
The basic body shape shared by all 105/115 series coupés was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Bertone. It was one of his first major projects for Bertone, and borrowed heavily from his earlier design for the Alfa Romeo 2000 Sprint/2600 Sprint. The balance of glass and metal, the influence of the shape of the front and rear glass on the shape of the cabin, and the flat grille with incorporated h
Lowered price from €59.950 -> €55.000 The Porsche 911 is a two-door, high performance sports with a distinctive design, rear-engined and with independent rear suspension, an evolution of the swing axle on the Porsche 356. Since its introduction in 1963, it has undergone continuous development, though the basic concept has remained little changed. The engine was air-cooled until the introductio
Lowered price from €13.950 -> €12.950 Nice example of one of the most sought after versions of the Traction Avant. This car is a 'légère' (BL) version with the ‘malle platte’, which means the wheel sits on the back instead of the (less elegant) large trunk. The car can be qualified as an older restoration in good condition. It remained with the same owner for the last 30 years. Nice 'dr
The car that was famously available with ‘soft Corinthian leather’ seat upholstery. Ricardo Montalbán subsequently stated that that the phrase meant absolutely nothing – but he did say it with the utmost conviction.
The year is 1973, and Britain is suffering from an outbreak of flared trousers and sales promotions that belong on the cheese counter of Mac Fisheries. This advertisement not only achieves new standards of sheer naffness (not helped by one of Newley and Bricusse’s lesser works on the soundtrack), but is also a reminder of how incoherent an array of cars lurked at your local Chrysler dealer.
The advertisement is very typical for US television of the late 1950s, but by the time the Edsel made its debut its intended market sector was already vanishing – and that was before you factor in the styling and reliability issues.
Lada with Cannon and Ball
No. Just – no.
‘What happens when the best engineers in the world set out to create a beautiful car?’ Well, we’ll never know, as they were obviously all on holiday at the time – so the best that BL could do was the Morris Marina.
Or, what happens when an advert combines the joie-de-vivre of The Wicker Man and The Quatermass XPeriment with the 1973 line-up from Luton. The unfortunate actor in the Gryphon costume is Julian Orchard, a highly respected veteran of West End theatre – we feel his pain.
Yugo/ Swithland Motors
This is not just the worst advertisement in the history of motoring; it is also quite possibly the worst commercial in the history of cinema and television. Be warned before attempting a viewing – it’s so bad as to be epoch changing.