Let's face it, car ads are generally boring. Particularly the printed ones. It's mostly a car on a road or trail and the specs are written around it, nothing very interesting. However, sometimes automakers put the same kind of effort into the ads as they do with the cars themselves.
We don't know how successful these ads were but all of them are simply genius.
Fiat Panda - "Engineered for a lower impact on the environment"
Fiat has tried to kill a lot of birds with one stone in this ad. First of all, the car in this ad is called Panda and then there is a panda driving it.
What Fiat is telling us is that not only the car is safe for drivers (don't let your panda drive it), but it also has a lower impact on the environment.
We often take cars for granted. For most people, it is just an engine, a transmission and a body slapped on top of it. That often leads to the thinking that cars are overpriced.
This Pajero ad tries to show the amount of technology that goes into a car. Seeing this, the customer will know what they are buying with their money.
This was the way Audi advertised the A1 when it was released in 2010. Audi, a company known primarily for making luxury cars, did something new when they made the A1.
And this was their way of telling the world that the A1 possessed everything Audis were known for - but in a smaller package. One that was more affordable and easy to drive around town.
This is abstract car art-- let's try and decipher it. So it shows a Terracan that's so muddy that it looks like it is made of clay or maybe it means that the Terracan is so at home off-road that it is a part of the trail.
This 2001-2007 mid-size SUV did not have a very good reputation in the market so let's just say that Hyundai needs to redirect some of the budgets from the abstract car art department to the R&D wing.
Nissan Frontier Navarra - "Built for the concrete jungle"
Pickup trucks are often considered rugged workhorses with no business in the town traffic other than a quick run to the hardware store or Home Depot. With this ad, Nissan tries to change that thinking.
The caption 'Built for the Concrete JUNGLE' conveys that this truck is equally good for cities and the outback. This was Nissan's entry into the European market where trucks are not a household name like the US.
Subaru - "Performance Enhanced liberty"
This is a really creative concept and you can make a number of explanations out of it. The most logical one is perhaps that Subaru gives you the performance of a modern car and the liberty of riding a horse - you can take it anywhere.
That is just about right. The reason being, Subaru puts an AWD system in almost all of their cars and you can take them off-road with no issues.
Smart - "The less polluting car of the world"
Smart is a subsidiary of Mercedes that makes small cars that are easy on the environment and do not break the bank. All that and you still get the touches of German luxury.
What this print ad aims to say is that if everyone starts using Smart cars, we can amend the wrong we've been doing to the environment for so long. That might not be totally true but using more fuel-efficient and 'green' cars are good for the environment.
Lamborghini - "A Part of Italy. Every Lamborghini is Handmade in Sant'agata Bolognese"
This print ad shows an iconic scene of Italian architecture. This is aimed to make you realize that Lambo is a part of Italy, as if, Italy is proud to be making Lambo.
As this is a disgrace to make cars of this class with robots, the tagline of the ad assures the audience that every Lambo is hand-built right in the heart of the fashion and design capital of the world, Sant'agata Bolognese, Italy.
Mazda BT-50 - "The Farm"
First things first, no truck can haul a farm in its bed. That's a fact, I looked it up. What this ad shows is that the BT-50 is capable of taking care of all your farm needs.
It might not be able to plow the fields or give milk like a cow but the BT-50 is a capable truck that you can use to haul farm stuff so let's just say, the ad is fair.
Land Rover - "Every terrain is a game"
We can all agree on this one. Land Rover proved the point by winning the Camel Trophy more times than we can remember. They didn't even need to have this ad to remind people.
However, if you are impressed by this ad and the reputation of Land Rover as the best off-road machine, do bear in mind that these things are not so reliable once you go beyond 50,000 miles.
Mini - "Roller coaster"
Mini has been making some really fun and practical cars for some time. This ad probably shows how owning a Mini is as fun as riding a roller coaster.
Talking literally, Minis with their small size and good power to weight ratio can easily negotiate such a road if you even have to take it there. If that was the purpose of the ad, Mini does live up to that.
Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Japanese automaker Suzuki is known for their small economical cars but they make some off-road vehicles too. This is an ad for the Suzuki Grand Vitara from the 1990s.
There is a bit too much photographic magic involved in this one but the Grand Vitara is a fairly capable 4x4 in its class. It will not be wrong to say that the car lived up to the ad.
IVECO - "Carrying What You Need and What You Can Even Imagine"
IVECO, short for Industrial Vehicles Corporation is an Italian automaker. IVECO vehicles are quite capable when it comes to hauling stuff but this ad is a bit too far.
If we do the math, the vehicle shown here is carrying a pickup truck that should weigh 3 tons, on top of that is a 2-ton forklift, with an elephant riding a bike adding another 3.2 tones. That adds up to 8.2 tons! It is highly unlikely that the vehicle shown here can haul all that.
Honda Odyssey - "The Van of Your Dreams"
Looking at this ad, can you tell the EPA rating of the Odyssey? Well, the deer in the background says 28 hwy and the other one says MPG. That's very clever of Honda.
They also very cleverly placed a lady (apparently a mom) next to the car. The Odyssey is actually the van of the dreams of the average American mom so this ad is the most accurate one we have on this list.
Ford Service - "Conquer the Ice. Get the New Tires for Better Grip"
This is more of a public service message than an ad. You should get new tires in winter if you live in an area where it snows. Winter tires do make driving easier and safer.
However, if you expect to be able to tow a ship behind your crossover after you get winter tires, that is not going to happen. Otherwise, the Ever Given (one of the world's largest container ships that got itself stuck in the Suez Canal) wouldn't have crippled world trade for 9 days.
Ford Trucks - "If you can load it, we can move it"
This ad is a clever use of Dominos and Physics. Ford did not give the disclaimer but this is not how you load a safe onto a truck. You would need to drop insanely heavy objects and the truck would be wrecked by the impact.
That aside, Ford Trucks do have some really impressive towing and hauling abilities so the ad is correct in that regard. Just load the truck in a proper way.
GMC Acadia - "Keep your eyes on the road"
This again is a public service message and a very useful one. You do need to monitor the gauges of the car while driving but your focus needs to be on the road.
There is a bike behind the gigantic tachometer. GMC Acadia does not have a tachometer of these proportions (I fact-checked that) but if you immerse yourself in how many revs the crank is making, you might end up hitting someone on the road.
Chevrolet Suburban - "4 x 4 x 4"
Chevrolet wants you to know that the Suburban is not only able to conquer all types of terrain but is also able to haul a lot of weight while it's at it.
The Suburban does haul above 8,000 lbs which is as much as an elephant but that's in a trailer not in the cabin. Plus, don't send your elephant off-roading in a Suburban.
Audi - "Now it's easier to get in. Audi First Choice used cars"
This is another abstract art ad. The concept here is probably that if you want a used car, Audi is the best option.
The ad indicates the Audi service where you can buy a used car from Audi with the confidence that it is Audi maintained and in good condition. How the maze fits into the whole concept is not something to be understood by everyone.
Volkswagen Golf - "Overtake Faster. The Golf R32 with 250 Horsepower"
VW does not make weird-looking, out-of-proportion transit concrete mixers. What this ad tells us is that the new Golf R32 is more powerful than the last generation.
Driving the 250hp Golf R32 is fun and overtakes are a breeze, unless you have to overtake a Lambo on the freeway. The claim is solid and so is the way of portraying it.
Discovery 4 - "Go Beyond"
Discovery is one of the most successful Land Rover cars. It was designed to give the average buyer a car that they can use without limits. It did do that very well.
This ad shows that these gentlemen are exploring probably Siberia or Antarctica on Discovery 4. That might be a bit far-fetched. If you do plan to do that, keep some chains (and a workshop) handy.
Chevrolet Captiva Extreme Limited Edition - "Don't let Nature Make You Feel Insignificant"
If you own a Captiva, you get snow and pines in your living room. That's what the ad leads the onlooker to believe.
What it actually means is that with the Captiva, nothing is out of reach for you. You can start your car and go anywhere you want in the same comfort as you enjoy in your living room. Captiva owners can tell how true that is.
Peugeot 206 Escapade - "Ready for the weekend with you"
Apparently, you can carry the 206 Escape on a bicycle but that is not true. This ad needs you to believe that no matter what the plan for the weekend is, the 206 Escape can make it possible.
Being the capable car that the Escape is, it can make it possible for you to get to your weekend escape wherever it might be.
Renault Commercial Vehicles - "With You From The Start"
This ad from French automaker Renault is a bit confusing. But, thankfully, they have put the caption to make things easy.
What they are trying to get across is that Renault vans can handle the job at hand from the very start. It is not like you can only drive them to the office to collect a letter. They are pretty practical and capable at everything you can throw them at.
Peugeot 207 SW - "Standard parking assistance control"
You do not see hand signs out of pillars in parking lots if you buy the 207 SW Compact. What you do get are the parking sensors that make parking easy.
This ad conveys that you don't have to get parking assistance as an optional extra so if you buy any 207 SW Compact, it will just be like having someone guide you when you park the car.
Smart - "Fuel Consumption"
Another example of Smart using the 'smart' approach to tell how their cars are different than others on the market. The whole idea of Smart Cars is to make traveling greener.
We cannot say with certainty if this photo is made to scale but yes Smart Cars do have significantly less appetite for fuel as compared to other cars.
Toyota Prado - "Amazing From Every Point of View"
What Toyota wants to tell people through this ad is that the Prado is equally equipped for the city and the wilderness. It is an SUV made to be equally capable at making grocery store runs as it is at exploring unchartered territories.
Other than the animals showing interest in the Prado, this ad is pretty accurate. The Prado is really a car that suits every purpose.
Volkswagen - "Please Drink Responsibly"
This is something most all weekend party people can relate to. Sadly, 28 people die in the US every day in drunk-driving car crashes. When one person is losing their life every 52 minutes, the matter does need to be highlighted.
Whether you see one steering wheel or three when you've had a little too much alcohol, do not drive. Save lives.
Volkswagen Jetta "Getting there is just as fun"
Last I checked Volkswagen Jetta, it is not offered with an interior made of sand. However, VW is claiming in this ad that the Jetta makes the journey as beautiful as the destination.
To be honest, the Jetta is a good car and it does make traveling fun. But saying that sitting in this sedan is equal to playing on the beach is not true.
Jeep - "How far can you go?"
From being a bare-bones off-road machine for the World War to being among some of the most luxurious and capable off-road machines on the market, Jeeps have come quite far indeed.
It can be safely said that if you have a Jeep, your destinations are only limited by your imagination and not by the abilities of your ride. Nice job on the ad, Jeep! On the cars, too!
Volkswagen Touareg - "Gets You to Unusual Places"
The Touareg is a luxury crossover SUV that has been in production at VW since 2002. It is not confirmed if this Touareg came to visit the owner in the kitchen or not.
However, being the comfortable and capable vehicle that it is, the Touareg can easily take the owner to places not all cars can go. Even if they are in a nightgown.
Volkswagen - "Bi-Xenon headlights standard on every Passat"
Wild animals cause 260,000 crashes a year, leading to 1,200 human injuries and claim 150 lives. It is not possible to make the deers wear reflective jackets so VW has taken a more viable approach.
They included Bi-Xenon headlights on every Passat so that even if the deers are not dressed in reflective jackets, you can still see them on the road.
Toyota Prado - "New Streets"
Is the Prado a capable SUV? Yes! Can it go straight across the peaks of the Rockies? No!
Toyota is trying to tell you that with a Prado, you don't need streets or roads to drive on. All you need is sheer power of will and an undying resolve and you can take the car anywhere. That is true but Toyota might just have taken this too far.
Skoda Yeti - "Yeti. Love It On The Rocks"
Another attempt by an automaker (Skoda) that their car can go anywhere. The Yeti, named after gigantic bears, is a compact SUV that can take you places.
In this ad, the car is shown with some polar bears on, what appears to be, a chunk of polar ice. We are not sure if it can go to the pole or not. If you do manage to take it there, don't get excited to greet the polar bears, they are aggressive.
Renault Clio RS. 201 HP - "Get there faster"
If you want to get somewhere before the hourglass empties, you need to buy the 201hp Renault Clio RS. That's what Renault is telling people with this ad.
The Clio RS is a fast car, no doubt there. However, the question remains whether it can get you there before the sand passes through the hourglass or not.
Mini Driver Training
Looking at these cones, you can get confused at what the ad actually says. If you look closely, it is not about driving between the cones. No matter how small a Mini is, it can't go between them.
The actual concept is driving with precision alongside the cones as apparent from the tire mark behind the line of VLC media players. Is Mini that precise? Only Mini drivers can tell.
Volkswagen - "Why take unnecessary risks at work?"
This might look a bit too much but it is a correct depiction. If you can't agree to work on electricity with your bare hands while standing in a pool of water, how can you drive a car lacking safety features?
Every VW Caddy Van is equipped with ABS, Air Bags, and Cruise Control to make sure that you are safe when behind the wheel. VW has done a great job at getting the point across.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van - "Plenty of room"
Is the Mercedes Sprinter Van a spacious one? Yes. Can you set up a mini home inside it? Yes, many people have done that. Can you play soccer inside it? No!
However, this creative ad does a good job at conveying that the inside of the Sprinter van is large enough to haul what you can reasonably need to carry inside a minivan.
Land Rover Defender
If you have a habit of giving lifts to hitchhikers and weary travelers and want to help people who might need a lift in the middle of the jungle, buy a Defender.
This ad is accurate to a great extent. If there is enough space for the tires of the Defender to touch the ground, it can conquer the terrain.
Bridgestone - "There's still a place for other tire manufacturers in Formula 1"
This one is genuinely creative but a bit rude too. This took me a minute to understand. What Bridgestone is telling you here is that any company other than them making tires for F1 can only make them for lining the sides of the track.
The tires that go on the cars can only be made by Bridgestone. However, pride hath fall came true after Pirelli became the tire supplier for F1 after 2011.