3 - Kia
And you thought Chris Farley's rendition of this in Tommy Boy was good. Michael Sembello's "Maniac" from the Flashdance soundtrack has been overplayed for nearly 25 years, but never has it been imitated like this; accurate in its choreography and disturbing all at once -- thanks, in no small part, to the very salesman-like salesman busting said moves. At a time when our alarmingly short American attention spans don't always focus long enough for a typical 30-second ad, this 60-second spot is one you'll be compelled to replay.
2 - Volkswagen
We've always felt a car says a lot about the person driving it. Volkswagen is keen to point out how this can backfire. As a young couple wind through the city in their Passat, they encounter several cars and their stereotypical drivers repeating stereotypical automotive raisons d'etre through megaphones. The macho man in a macho sedan: "Because daddy never hugged me." The synthetic blonde in a red convertible: "Because the more guys notice me, the more I love myself." The douche bag in the luxury car: "Because I make more money than you." And last, but not least (so to speak), the middle-aged guy in a yellow sports car: "Because I'm compensating for my shortcomings," or as seen in the alternate version, "Because mine's only about yay big." This inspires the VW couple to throw out their megaphone because, as we learn, the Passat has low ego emissions. How smug.
1 - Toyota
A Car to Make Your Own
Husband and wife buy a RAV4. Husband and wife both want to drive said RAV4. Husband and wife engage in death match of household booby traps for supremacy. Clearly, somebody in that ad agency went through a nasty breakup and was a big fan of War of the Roses, not to mention Home Alone. And if they did obsess over those two movies, wouldn't you split too? Anyway, as The Turtles' "Happy Together" plays, the pair stop at nothing -- not even exploding their own house -- for seat time in the RAV4. We're aware of desperate measures taken to get out of one, but never into one. In any case, this New Zealand-originated ad carried over into 2007 with controversy from those without a life and laughs from the rest of us.