Status vs Commodity in Car Advertising

Digital creativity blog by Flow Bohl, last updated: 13.3.2010

The focus tends to be on rational and functional benefits for small cars. For family and high-end models, the differentiation lies increasingly in the emotional pay-offs.

Mercedes Benz' 'Objects of Desire' campaign by Scholz & Volkmer follows all guidelines for contemporary advertising. It carries a headline conveying a costumer benefit, contains a large product shot so you know what it looks like and it contains a series of little captions. Words and sentences are arranged in some grammatical order giving useful information about what the product does. In other words, it's exactly what many buyers expect the car to be: A chic-magnet.

Exclusive vs Elusive

What drives car advertising? Some say it's emotional drives and aspirations that influence our perception of what we 'need'. Commodities are irrelevant for high-end models. Who 'needs' to drive down a motorway 200 miles an hour. It's comforting to know that you could, if ever you were near a German 'autobahn'.

Design rules when cars become a fashion statement, not a means to commute to work, or transfer distant relatives to a nearby airport. A great campaign that focusses on design is Maserati's 'Is Your Garage Worthy' (2009). The garage becomes a temple, the brand the religion and the car the ultimate prophet. This collaboration between Maserati and Architectural Digest is cross-branding at its best.

The idea of a 'fashion statement' was colourfully exploited in a campaign with drift driver Ken Block (2009). Targeting ABC1s in their midlife-crisis Subaru collaborated with DC shoes. In the highly stylised infomercial the images of the shoes and the car create a fuddling atmosphere of sweat, burnt rubber and paint drips. Referencing extreme-sports like drift driving and skating as well as graffiti and paint-balling appeals to teenagers or middle-aged who aspire to be young and trendy again.

Great car ads

With yet another sporty techno campaign for Honda, Wieden + Kennedy created powerful images for the average urban hipsters:

This ad by 1st Ave Machine is quite a stroke of genius and my favorite ad since a while.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Talk to Flow