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Chevrolet: 100 Years Deep

Today is the exact 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company by race car driver and engineer Louis Chevrolet, former GM executive William Crapo "Billy" Durant, and investors William Little and Edwin R. Campbell. This seems an appropriate time for a little reflection:

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Cars... for men?

Like the new(ish) Leaf commercial, there are a couple of other spots out now that struck me as both having a common theme (if not product) that brings up a topic I've contemplated for quite a while but could never quite figure out an angle by which to approach it. By "angle" I mean a way I could get it past the editors and not get slammed in the comments for being a VILE SEXIST PIG.

Err, anyway. I thought these two ads make for an interesting contrast in how each attempts to associate MetroRetro men with cars and also the particular male idiom each shoots for. The first goes with more of a modern man, maybe even a "metrosexual", while the second goes the "retrosexual" route. And they're both taking something of a bold non-feminine (though not anti-feminine) stance: We're selling to Men. Competing versions of Men, but Men nonetheless. They both say something about what society is going through at the moment, at least as far as pop culture is concerned, and I think it's worthwhile to look at it from our own little Car Lusty angle.

Do they work? Are they infuriating? You be the judge. 

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Great (But Frustrating) Commercials: Nissan Leaf

I almost never watch commercials anymore. Most of my video is of the streaming variety, either through Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, or YouTube. When I do take advantage of broadcast or cable TV, it's usually captured on my Tivo, where I can fast-forward through commercials. On the rare occasion when I'm watching live TV (usually sports), I'm often with friends and don't pay much attention to commercial blather. In the vanishingly rare cases when I'm watching live TV and aren't talking during the commercials, I'm usually mentally tuned out because most commercials are either obvious or annoying or both. This explains why, in true Car Lust style, I just recently viewed and am just now writing up an advertisement that originally aired three months ago.

Over the weekend, this Nissan Leaf commercial caught me in one of those few moments when both my television and my brain were tuned in, and I thought it was stunningly well-executed. It was frustrating, for reasons I'll get into after the video and the jump, but very well-done.

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The Future of Automotive Design and Manufacturing?

When I was about 8 or 9, I got a Hot Wheels Picture Maker for Christmas. (Little sister got the Barbie counterpart.) I was reminded of it last month when I read an article in TTAC about Volkswagen's new modular platform architecture.

What does a forty-some year old toy have to do with modern Volkswagens and Audis, and how does it relate (as the title of this post suggests) to the future of automotive design and manufacturing? Watch this vintage Picture Maker commercial, and I'll explain afterward.

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All-American Week: an Introduction

Welcome to All-American Week, Car Lust's commemoration of the 235th anniversary of American independence. We'll be hoisting the Stars and Stripes over the garage and devoting the week to cars painted in what one writer likes to call "the single most successful color scheme in world history"--red, white, and blue. We may even set off a firecracker or two.

To get you in the mood, here's the most intensely patriotic American car commercial ever made. I'll have some comments after the jump.

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Car Commercials during the Super Bowl

Best car commercial during the Super Bowl? Go.

(or best commercial featuring a car)

 

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Great Commercials--"The world belongs . . . to Lynx"

When I wrote about the Mercury Lynx this past summer, I lamented that I was unable to show you any of the memorable (to me, anyway) "world belongs to Lynx" commercials from 1980 and '81.

I am happy to report that this is no longer the case. Last month, the Huntley Film Archives posted a one-minute Lynx commercial from that ad campaign to YouTube.

I didn't remember this particular one, but the lynx, the big white sphere that turns into a globe (not bad for pre-digital special effects), the planetarium-style narration, and the dreamy Vangelis soundtrack were used in all the ads in the series.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Mediocrity

This is a gag, I think . . . I hope  . . .

Actually, it's part of a Subaru marketing campaign--which doesn't make it any less amusing, or  (unfortunately) any less true.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Cadillac Catera

Karl Marx once said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." He could have been talking about Cadillac.

We've previously told you the tragic tale of the Cadillac Cimarron. A half-baked attempt at badge engineering a small Caddy out of the not-very-good-to-begin-with J-car, the Cimarron lives in infamy as one of GM's most heinous offenses against its own brand equity.

How bad was it? Let's put it this way: one of Cadillac's executives had a picture of a Cimarron prominently placed in the design offices--as a shining example to all of what not to do.

Ignoring that object lesson, Cadillac tried the same trick again fifteen years later, badge-engineering another new small Caddy out of a car from a more pedestrian GM division. The car that resulted when history repeated itself wasn't quite as tragically flawed as the Cimarron, but what seemed like a promising little ride at first glance quickly became a farce involving a duck, a supermodel, a lot of warranty claims, and a doctor on TV.

I'm talking about the Cadillac Catera, introduced in 1997 as "The Caddy that zigs."

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Great Commercials--"This or That"

Kia's latest commercial for the Soul compact features their posse of giant anthropomorphic hamsters kickin' it giving props to their ride. The soundtrack is a catchy bit of old-school (1994-vintage) rap, "The Choice is Yours" by Black Sheep.

Kia's first hamster commercial won a 2010 Silver EFFIE Award from the American Marketing Association. This one is easily its equal, and right up there with the "Joyride Dream" ad for the Sorrento in entertainment value--absurd and comical, yet utterly convincing. I don't know if the hamsters are CGI or animatronics or actors in hamster suits, but for one full minute there, they have me completely sold on the idea that there is, somewhere, an inner-city neighborhood (centered on Hamsterdam Avenue) populated entirely by giant hip-hop hamsters in hoodies who bust mad rhymes.

I think I'll get with this, 'cause this is kinda phat.

--C-Dog's Owner in the house

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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