Super Bowl commercials might get all the hype, but some of our beloved car-themed spots happened to have come outside of the mad frenzy of the big game. While some of our favorites were created for the Super Bowl (and in some strange cases, only for the Super Bowl and never to run again), others captured our hearts and minds the other 364 days of the year. Here are our favorites:
Title: Milky Way
Why We Like It: In the 1990s Volkswagen's advertising really struck a chord with the American public, somehow locating that cultural hot spot where the commercial became more than just a sales tool--and perhaps a touchstone for what the company stood for at that moment in time. The song, "Pink Moon," by the late British artist Nick Drake, became so popular that sales increased to a point where his albums were on par with pop artists of the day.
Why We Like It: A red herring on our list, this commercial did debut at a Super Bowl. In 2008 Audi prepped the release of its R8 supercar and used the massive audience of the big game to send a clear message: the old, stuffy idea of luxury is dead. The connection to the classic mafia drama The Godfather is intentional--Audi was reported to have paid Paramount a hefty sum for use of the film's imagery.
Title: 300 ZX
Why We Like It: If this commercial has a special cinematic feel, it's for good reason: the iconic Hollywood filmmaker Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator) had his thumbprints all over it. Nissan lore has it that the ad was only run once--at the 1990 Super Bowl--and pulled from the air shortly thereafter when some people within the company thought it encouraged street racing. For the sheer thrill of it all, we think it's fabulous.
Why We Like It: "This is what a Honda feels like..." starts the voice-over, and we expect to see and hear a plain old car starting up in a plan old driveway. Instead, Honda assembled their own choir of people with the most interesting of musical abilities. There's the teeth-tapping that sounds like rain, the woman whose head moves like a windshield wiper and everything else in between. It's incredibly well done and makes a human connection to the typically mundane sounds we hear day in and day out in our vehicles. This commercial debuted for Honda's UK market in 2006.