Car adverts stay in our minds for varying reasons. Some are wacky and memorable, like Citroen's classic dancing car or Mazda's catchy 'Zoom Zoom' catchphrase, whereas others are simply perfectly placed, like Volvo's 'Human Made Stories' campaign showing immediately before hit TV programmes like Game of Thrones. Over the past few decades, car manufacturers have completely changed the tone in which they advertise themselves with - there are plentiful examples of sexist or crass adverts from way back when, but the adverts of today are exposed to more turbulence, as it's just as easy for a viewer to voice their concerns as it is their praise. Check out our top ten list of the most viewed automotive adverts on YouTube below!
In early 2003, Peugeot released 'The Sculptor' to our television screens and has since earned its rightful place among the most popular car adverts of all time. The car featured in the advert was originally a Hindustan Ambassador, before being brutalised into resembling the then-new Peugeot 206. Spoiler alert: the car shown at the end of the advert is in-fact a banged up 206, as opposed to an actual adapted Hindustan Ambassador. Top gear actually re-created this advert to celebrate it's 15th anniversary (and also the 20th anniversary of the initial launch of the 206 model itself), which instead of the 206 features the now current 208 model as the star of the show. The 206 eventually went on to be Peugeot's best-selling model of all time.
Using the tagline "You never know where a dream will lead you", Honda's paper campaign really makes you empathise with how far the company has come. Using thousands of hand-drawn illustrations to form the stop-motion video, the advert was animated together to bring us the story of where Honda started out to where they are today.
In order to promote the reliability of early Volkswagen Golf models, this hilarious 50 second advert ended up with over 1 million views in just under 7 days. There's an abundance of imagination in all of Volkswagen's adverts, they have had other hit adverts such as "The Force" or more recently - "The Button" used to promote the new Golf GTE hybrid.
It's impressive to have two entries in this list but there's no denying the amount of effort Honda put into their adverts. Back in 2003, Honda used this advert to promote their Accord range by creating a Rube Goldberg machine out of the parts that the car is made up of. Despite being accused of plagiarism by the creators of the art film "The Way Things Go", The Cog went on to win more awards than any commercial in history at its time.
Subaru are known to be a very outdoorsy brand, they've had an enormous amount of rallying success and the majority of their vehicle range has historically consisted of four-wheel drive models, so to create an advert about a very relatable consumer need (dog friendliness) was a smart idea. This ad was one of Subaru's many dog-related advertising campaign videos, a concept which has been repeated for years to come due to how successful it has been. You can find all of their pet videos by clicking here.
One of the many automotive adverts to feature in 2019's Super Bowl (an event well-known to be an advertisers heaven due to how much exposure is on the table) was Audi's Cashew. This 60 second ad was to raise awareness around Audi's range of electric vehicles and their mission to electrify one third of all new Audi models by 2025. In the ad, we get to see a glimpse of the gorgeous e-tron GT concept car that was displayed across motor shows earlier this year.
The advert that sparked a mini ad-war between Mercedes & Jaguar, the goal of Mercedes' "Chicken" ad was to represent their "Magic Body Control" functionality, which uses a camera to monitor the road ahead and the cars suspension to make balancing adjustments on the fly. Jaguar quickly responded with their own version of the advert, which ends with a Jaguar eating the chicken, with the caption "Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes".
Chrysler's ad is another Superbowl success story, making use of both Eminem himself along with one of his most popular songs "Lose Yourself", a song which is very rarely given licensing rights to, Chrysler were able to create something which demonstrated their pride in their brand and the city of Detroit all while promoting their brand new model. The same day the advert was first aired, "Chrysler 200" became the second most popular search term on Google that day and has since become one of the most memorable American automotive advertisements of all time.
Inspired by the film "Back to the Future" Fiat have put a retro Italian spin on the time-travelling blockbuster to promote the new 500X, which views as more of a short feature film as opposed to an actual advertisement. Since it's release in August of 2018, "A Taste Of Tomorrow. Today." has racked up an astonishing 28.9 million views, though a large portion of these views will be from YouTube's video ad placements.
Once again, the Superbowl remains the king of advertisement placement. In 2019's Superbowl, Hyundai launched their Elevator commercial, a comedic 1 minute video about a Harry Potter-esque elevator journey starring Jason Bateman, promoting the new Hyundai Shopper Assurance scheme. It's now the most viewed automotive advert on YouTube, with a difference of 9.9 million views between Fiat in second place.
While the adverts above are the most viewed, it doesn't mean they're the ones we'll all remember for years to come. There are a few adverts from recent history that are well worth a nod to, two of which were often shown before the trailers in cinemas.
Perhaps one of the most memorable car adverts of all time, Citroen created a series of adverts to show off their new (at the time) C4 model. If you're wondering what the name of the song played in the advert is, it's Les Rythmes Digitales – Jacques Your Body.
In efforts to appeal to a wider male audience, Fiat promoted their sporty 'S' derivative of the enormously popular Fiat 500 by showing a comedic glimpse of engineers testing the model for a 'real-world' scenario involving a couple arguing.