Top 10 Auto Ads Of The Past 25 Years

January 16, 2013

The auto industry spends billions of dollars each year on TV ads, but few are worth remembering. In fact, there are many we'd rather forget.

Thankfully, at least one organization is keeping tabs on all those commercials, and during this week's Detroit Auto Show, it revealed its list of the ten best auto ads of the past 25 years.

The organization in question is called The One Club. According to its website, The One Club's mission is "to champion and promote excellence in advertising and design in all its forms. It is the world's foremost non-profit organization devoted to elevating creative work in the industry. It seeks to celebrate the legacy of creative advertising and to use that legacy to inspire future generations. The One Club is the 'keeper of the flame' for advertising creatives."

To select its top ten ads, The One Club enlisted the aid of more than 70 ad executives and journalists. Among that number were very heavy-hitters from firms like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Leo Burnett Worldwide, and The Martin Agency.

When all the votes had been counted, Honda walked away with top honors for its psychedelic "Grrr" ad, touting Honda's i-CTDi diesel engine. (Fun fact: the ad is narrated by Garrison Keillor.) Honda also nabbed the #2 spot for its Rube-Goldberg-inspired ad promoting the Honda Accord (also voiced by Keillor).

Further down the list, Volkswagen scored three spots, Chrysler landed two (one for the Chrysler brand, one for Jeep), and BMW, Nissan, and Saturn each received one:

1. "Grrr" - Wieden+Kennedy/London and Honda - 2004
2. "Cog" - Wieden+Kennedy/London and Honda - 2003
3. "The Force" - Deutsch/Los Angeles and Volkswagen - 2011
4. "The Hire" - Fallon/Minneapolis and BMW - 2001*
5. "Sheet Metal" - Goodby, Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco and Saturn - 2002
6. "Born of Fire" - Wieden+Kennedy/Portland and Chrysler - 2011
7. "Toys" - TBWAChiatDay/Los Angeles and Nissan - 1997
8. "Lamp Post" - BMP DDB/London and Volkswagen - 1998
9. "Milky Way" - Arnold Worldwide/Boston and Volkswagen -1999
10. "Snow Covered" - Bozell Worldwide/Southfield and Chrysler/Jeep - 1994

The One Club also recognized last year's "Camry Reinvented" ad, which was chosen by over 7,000 internet voters as the "public choice" winner.

Did voters overlook one of your favorites? Include one that you hated? Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

*Note: "The Hire" was an ongoing series from BMW.

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