Title: Car Adverts: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Summary: Although companies spend thousands of hours and millions of pounds toiling away to create the perfect new automobile, there is one often overlooked aspect of rolling out a new car: the advertising. A strong advert can spread news like wildfire, and rocket the car into the limelight. Get it wrong, however, and your lovingly crafted new vehicle may end up a laughing stock.

Meta Title: The Best Car Adverts | The Worst Car Adverts | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors brings you some of the best and worst car adverts to ever grace TV screens. Take a look at our list of the best car adverts ever here.

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Black Gold

While clipboard-clutching engineers in white coats may spend thousands of hours and millions of pounds toiling and tinkering away to create the perfect new automobile, there is one often overlooked aspect of rolling out a new car: the advertising. How a car is perceived is absolutely crucial to its success. A strong advert can spread news like wildfire, and rocket the car into the limelight. Get it wrong, however, and your lovingly crafted new vehicle may end up a laughing stock.

We’ve compiled a list of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the car advertising world. Before we descend into the murky depths of 1980’s celebrity endorsements, we’ll start with some of the better ads. These are some of the most inspiring, witty, and innovative advertisements that the automotive industry has to offer. Take notes – this is how it’s done.

The Good

“The Transformer” Citroen C4

In 2004, when animated Transformers where just a glint in Michael Bay’s eye, a 30 second advert appeared on television. Viewers watched a humble Citroen C4 quietly sitting in an empty car park. Suddenly, as an electronic beat fades in, the car sprouts limbs, stretches, and bursts into spontaneous breakdancing, before hopping back into unassuming car form. Not bad, Citroen. The C4 Transformer was a truly unique thing – an advert that viewers actively wanted to watch.

 

“The Sculptor” Peugeot 206

In a busy Indian marketplace, a young man stares longingly at a banged up Hindustan Ambassador. Suddenly struck by an idea, he beats the car to a pulp. After a welding/hammering montage that the A Team would be proud of, it is revealed that he has pummelled his battered old Ambassador into a (still fairly battered) Peugeot 206. The extremely cool slow-mo cruise at the end is what makes this advert a classic.

 

“The Cog” Honda Accord

An absolute marvel of minutely detailed chain reactions, The Cog features a succession of various Honda parts rolling, flexing, bouncing and clicking in a domino effect, ultimately switching on a booming sound system and rolling an immaculate Accord into view as a flag unfurls behind. The astonishing display cost £1 million to make, over seven months of production. Seven months for a 120 second clip. Imagine the party they must have thrown when they finally got the take.

 

“There Is Definitely An Attraction Here” Hyundai i10

Hyundai have nailed it with their new series of adverts, featuring the hapless George, a salesman who is harassed by various oddball customers. The tone is brilliantly British and the dialogue is dry, witty and reminiscent of the best UK sitcoms. The key to the success of these adverts is the bizarre opening quotes at the start of each video. The ‘3 minutes earlier’ is a genius method to keep audiences watching and guessing.

 

The Bad

There are loads more beautifully shot and expertly executed car adverts out there, but we all know the adverts you really want to see: the eye-gougingly terrible ones. You’re in luck, because we have plenty.

“Papi” featuring Jennifer Lopez, Fiat 500

A baffled looking Jennifer Lopez drives through streets packed with hysteric people, leaping out of the way of her car as she swerves all over the pavement. Is Jennifer Lopez being chased by crazed fans? Is she the last survivor of a zombie apocalypse? Has she gone spontaneously blind at the wheel? Whatever it was, it doesn’t seem to matter, because by the end of the 30 second advert she’s busy body popping atop her Fiat 500 as legions of (undead?) fans lay writhing at her feet.

 

Celine Dion, 1990 Plymouth Sundance Dodge Shadow

A yellow jumpsuit clad Celine Dion dances like a dad at a wedding around the boxy Dodge Shadow as a French voiceover shouts at us. Her dance move repertoire includes a rhythmic shoulder shrug, putting her hands in the air a bit, a slight upward nod, and a slow creeping walk. It gets weirder still, as she winks at us before removing a child booster seat from inside the car and dances off into the distance clutching it. The car sits idle for a moment, before rocketing off screen at a 0-60 of about a tenth of a second.

 

The Ugly

Now we reach the deepest circles of advertising nonsense. Brace yourself.

Grace Jones, Citroen CX

It’s hard to know where to begin with this one. The disembodied head of Grace Jones sits in the desert. It rotates, its mouth opens mechanically, and a Citroen CX drives out. The CX is driven by… Grace Jones. She winds the window down and sings aggressively at the camera. Then she drives back into her own gaping mouth. It’s hard to know exactly what emotional response Citroen intended the advert to evoke, but we can bet it wasn’t unadulterated, raw terror.

 

Black Gold 280 ZX, Datsun

You’ve got to love a car advert where a gospel choir warbles the car’s name over a disco soundtrack. The Datsun Black Gold prowls onto the screen like a panther, mist swirling around its wheels, as a meaty voiceover purrs the name. A beautiful woman turns her head and gazes coolly at us. An immaculately permed man with a moustache that would make Tom Selleck hang his head in shame pouts seductively at the camera. The two kiss passionately in the car as we are blinded by lens flares. As the gospel choir reaches a crescendo, shrieking the cars name, it roars away into the desert. Black Gold. Is it weird that we actually want one now?

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Land Rover Looks Towards the Future

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Summary: Land Rover is one of the UK’s most loved vehicle manufacturers, and a giant of British engineering. Since 1948 the company has released iconic vehicle after iconic vehicle, from the Safari ready Series I through to the modern luxury of the Range Rover and Discovery Sport models.

Meta Title: Land Rover Looks Towards the Future

Meta Description: With the retirement of the Discovery and an announcement that they are set to test self driving cars, we take a look at what's next in store for Land Rover.

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Land Rover Defender

Land Rover is one of the UK’s most loved vehicle manufacturers, and a giant of British engineering. Since 1948 the company has released iconic vehicle after iconic vehicle, from the Safari ready Series I through to the modern luxury of the Range Rover and Discovery Sport models.

A large part of Land Rover’s continued success has always come from the company’s ability to combine the heritage styling of its most loved vehicles with new and innovate technology, keeping with the times whilst satisfying customers who are still looking for the classic features they’ve come to know and love.

However ground-breaking the manufacturers’ new vehicles might be, the company has always had one foot firmly in the past – by no means a negative thing.  However, two recent announcements suggest that Land Rover is looking to shift its focus, and look towards the future.

Defender: Retirement and Resurrection

In January 2016, the 67 year old icon that is the Land Rover Defender was assembled for one last time at Solihull, leaving fans of the 4×4 hankering to hear news of its future. They didn’t have to wait long, as shortly after the news of the Defender’s retirement, a second coming was announced; the “new Defender”, set to be released in 2019.

With a new Defender concept – the DC100 – unveiled back in 2011, Land Rover have revamped their design, promising their ‘new Defender’ will be very different, whilst retaining all that makes the original so unique.

Despite the problems the Defender range raised – largely, a labour-intensive production process and engines which struggled to meet Euro 6 regulations – it remains a fan favourite in the Land Rover range. The manufacturer is determined to continue the Defender line thanks to its reputation as the embodiment of 4×4 motoring.

The new iterations of the Defender are not expected to grow much in size, and are looking to be modern and simple in design. Some setbacks in the new vehicles production stem from debate over where they should be produced. While greater capacity for production may be found overseas (with a factory in Slovakia being considered), it is argued that, as an icon of British motoring, the Defender line should be produced on British soil.

Self-Driving Tech Brought to UK

Shortly after the news of the Defender’s retirement, Land Rover made another step into the future. In early February, the company announced they would be using a 41 mile stretch of road between Coventry and Solihull as a testing location for autonomous driving technology; self-driving vehicles.

The tech in question is a sensor system that would enable vehicles to instantly download information from overhead gantries down the motorway, updating the car with information such as queues, icy roads, traffic jams and accident warnings. The technology, known as vehicle to infrastructure communication, or V2I, would run alongside V2V – vehicle to vehicle communication. This means a link between cars on the road, making collisions less likely as the vehicles sensors would instantly react to obstacles in the road; for example, if the vehicle in front suddenly slammed on the breaks.

With this technology perfect, it would help roads to operate at maximum capacity and reduce congestion, as cars would be able to form a perfectly synced line down the motorway, with only small gaps between them, meaning less wasted space.

Land Rover is set to invest around £5,000,000 into the project, which it refers to as “the world’s first self-learning car”. The testing has only recently been green lighted by the government, and will be one of the first times that driverless cars are tested in the UK, making Land Rover one of the key British manufacturers working in this area.

For fans of the manufacturer’s more heritage vehicles the Defender and self-driving technology news might seem alienating. However, Land Rover is in fact doing what it has always done, rising to the challenge, quietly innovating, and working to bring world leading technology and vehicles to the masses.

Author: Tom

Title: Iconic Car of the Month: Ford Mustang

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Summary: Every month in our new "Iconic Car of the Month" feature, we'll be presenting you with a car that has ascended the garage forecourt, and earned its place as a cultural classic. To start this new feature with a bang, this month we're bringing you an instantly recognisable movie chase-scene veteran with over 9 million cars sold to date: ladies and gentlemen, the Ford Mustang.

Meta Title: Iconic Cars | Ford Mustang

Meta Description: For this month's Iconic Car, Bristol Street Motors presents the unstoppable Ford Mustang

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Every month in our new “Iconic Car of the Month” feature, we’ll be presenting you with a car that has ascended the garage forecourt, burned up the road, and earned its place as a cultural classic. To start this new feature with a bang, this month we’re bringing you an instantly recognisable movie chase-scene veteran with over 9 million cars sold to date: ladies and gentlemen, the Ford Mustang.

A Spot of History

The Mustang was born in 1962, when a prototype-wary Henry Ford II finally OK’d a new experimental car. Based loosely on the Ford Falcon, the car was designed with a young, teen audience in mind, who wanted sexy, fast, cheap cars – until that point, a definite contradiction. Enter the Mustang, highly stylised and pacey, costing under $2500 on its debut in 1964. The car created its own class, the ‘pony class’ of vehicles: sporty coupes with long bonnets and short rears, a style that has since been picked up by other manufacturers, including the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro.

The Mustang was unveiled in New York in 1964 after a nationwide media furore and an avalanche of praising reviews. The first Mustang ever made was intended to be paraded across dealerships all over the US, but on one particularly muddled forecourt in Newfoundland it was accidentally sold to an airline pilot (somehow). Ford requested their cherished original Mustang back, and the pilot did return it, eventually, with the clock only run up 10,000 miles or so.

What’s in a Name?

The name ‘Mustang’ didn’t come directly from the American wild horse, but instead the car was named after the Second World War plane P-51 Mustang fighter plane. Other possible names thrown about were similarly animalistic, with ‘Cougar’ and ‘Torino’ briefly considered. Henry Ford II wanted to call the muscle car the ‘T Bird II’, for some reason. Ford team members also suggested names including Special Falcon, XT-Bird, and Stiletto. What Ford were thinking when they considered naming their all-American muscle car after a woman’s shoe isn’t entirely clear.

Through the decades Mustang evolved over several generations, gaining and losing weight quicker than a D list celebrity. It has a virtually unlimited number of trims, and its engines have varied in power from 101 bhp to a gargantuan 390 stampeding horses beneath the bonnet. It’s had several major redesigns, and went through an awkward, clunky teenage phase in the late 70’s and 80’s, losing much of what made it an icon, including the galloping horse badge, much to the despair of loyal ‘Stang fans. Thankfully, over the past two decades, the fifth and sixth generations have seen a return to form, with a neo-classic, brawny body shape and scowling headlights that look absolutely livid – just as they should.

From Police Cruiser to Drag Racer to Silver Screen Stud

The Mustang is nothing if not versatile, frequently used by police across the US, as well as for drag racing and stock car racing, claiming titles in all categories over the years. Further, the car has racked up a list of silver screen titles to make even Nicolas Cage green with envy, appearing in over 3000 TV shows and films over the years. The very year the car launched in 1964, a white Mustang was rammed off the road by a smirking, Aston driving Sean Connery in Goldfinger. Undoubtedly the most famous Mustang to make it to Hollywood, however, is the Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 fastback that Steve McQueen tore around San Francisco in. The 7 minute car chase is one of the most renowned of all time, and played a huge role in building the Mustang’s celebrity status.

The current, sixth generation Mustang comes with a choice of three engines, the most powerful of which is a 5.0 L Coyote 435bhp V8. Good grief. If you can’t wait to get your hands on one, you’re in luck: this year, the right hand drive Mustang has gone on sale in the UK for the first time in its glorious 50 year history – a history that would have been a lot shorter and less glorious, had it been called the Ford Stiletto.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Car Cultures Around The World: Germany’s Autobahn

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Summary: With such car manufacturing giants as BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all based there, Germany sets the world standard for automotive quality and power. With a country so car-barmy, you would expect a road system to match - and you'd be right. The Autobahn is Germany's famous road system, where speed limits just aren't a thing, apparently.

Meta Title: Car Culture | Driving in Germany

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors pop over to Germany to bring you the facts about the world famous Autobahn. Click through to find out more.

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Autobahn

What on Earth is an Autobahn?

There are a lot of aspects of German culture that never really caught on in the rest of Europe. English skate parks remain mercifully free of lederhosen clad youths, and you’ll rarely find a first date couple wolfing down a pair of steaming currywursts.

When it comes to cars, however, Germany sets the world standard for quality and power. With such car manufacturing behemoths as BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all based there, it’s no wonder that Germany has been referred to as Die Autofahrernation – the nation of motorists. With a country so car-barmy, you would expect a road system to match.

A bit of background

Germany’s Autobahn is renowned the world over, and has been a source of national pride since its beginnings almost a hundred years ago. Construction of the motorway was begun in the early 1920’s and the road network grew exponentially over the next couple of decades. Progress slowed in the 1940’s, when sections of the Autobahn were used during the Second World War as makeshift runways for aircraft, with many stretches damaged beyond repair during the fighting. After the war, work began anew to finish the vast project, and today the Autobahn is over 8,000 miles of immaculately maintained German engineering.

Are there really no speed limits?

Now that we’re all nicely clued up on what the Autobahn is, it’s time for the burning question: how fast can you go?

The Straßenverkehrsordnung (good old Germany and their massive words) is the law relating to road traffic, and Germans love it for one simple reason: it states there is no upper speed limit for the Autobahn. This isn’t true of all sections, or for all vehicles, and there is a government advisory speed limit of 80mph, but this isn’t enforceable. Basically, when you see a sign marked “Ende aller Streckenverbote” (“the limits no longer apply”), you’re free to put your foot down. Roughly 50% of the Autobahn has no speed limit.

Good lord! Is it safe?!

While in any other country the ability to blast down the motorway at warp speed would likely lead to chaos, in Germany, would-be drivers have to pass a rigorous set of theory lessons, first aid tests, and courses in high speed driving, due to the radically different way cars handle at speeds above 90mph. Consequently, Germans are well prepared to handle their motorways, and their sky high tax rate means their beloved Autobahn is extremely well maintained.

The only real restriction to your speed on the limit-less sections of the motorway is your own car. Many German cars have a built in speed limiter, restricting you to a maximum of a rather generous 155mph. It’s possible to remove this limit, but it can play havoc with your insurance.

But how do they keep law and order?!

In order to maintain law and order on the Autobahn, unmarked police cars patrol the roads constantly. Drivers can be pulled over for tailgating, speeding in restricted speed areas, or being a hated ‘Linksschleicher’ (roughly translates to ‘left sneaker’) – someone who drives too slowly in the fast lane.

In Germany, it is also an offence to run out of fuel on the motorway. Petrol stations are placed every 30 miles or so, and so it’s considered entirely avoidable that you should have to stop on the Autobahn. Enter the motorway with the knowledge that your engine is running on fumes and you could have your license suspended for six months. If your car gently wheezes to a halt in the fast lane, you can expect to be efficiently slapped in irons and bundled into a Polizeiauto for endangering the public.

As you may have guessed, Germans are quite fond of their cars.  Losing your license, therefore, is like slamming the car door on your hand: painful and embarrassing. To make matters worse, Germans who have had their licenses lopped in half and who want a new one have to pass a psychological examination to prove they are sane and road-worthy, an exam which is colloquially known as the ‘idiot test’.

Should I visit?

So, if your Ferrari is gathering dust under a sheet in the garage and you’re looking for somewhere to really open it up, the Autobahn is the place. Just make sure you’re not drunk. Or going too slow. Or in the wrong lane. Or tailgating. Or running low on petrol. Or driving too fast in the limited zones. Beyond that, burn rubber!

Author: Dan Hackett