This time of year is a real challenge to ad haters and those who don't have digital video recorders to help skip through the commercials. Holiday shopping advertisements are running ad nauseum, and there's an avalanche of car commercials trying to push cars and truck off dealer lots before the calendar switches over to 2012.
Trade publication Adweek has named its top ten ads of 2011, and its editors say even they were surprised that three car ads from the last eleven months were among their top 10 -- including the one that nabbed the top honor.
Do you agree with the so-called experts?
The ad for the Nissan Leaf, ranked 9th, shows what the world would be liked if we tried to run everything on gasoline. Our favorite was the dentist drill. Ouch!
The Leaf is an all-electric vehicle, a hatchback that gets about 80 to 100 miles on an electric charge before it needs to be recharged.
There is controversy surrounding electric vehicles -- real questions as to whether enough U.S. drivers will want them to justify the investments being made by car companies, and the tax-payer funded incentive tax credits being used to subsidize early adopters.
This ad, though, produced by TBWA/Chiat/Day, captures the progressive spirit around trying to get more people to consider driving electric vehicles, which can make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil.
"Born of Fire," broke all the rules of advertising, and especially Super Bowl advertising when it aired last February to the biggest TV audience of the year.
The ad, which scored 3rd on Adweek's list, is two minutes long, and tries to make the point that Detroit, perhaps the most derided city in American culture today, is where the best automotive hardware comes from. The tagline that Chrysler introduced in this ad: "Imported from Detroit."
The ad was also notable for having hip-hop icon Eminem appear in the ad, and for using his "Lose Yourself" song. The ad was a hot with most critics, and was the most talked about ad of the game for weeks.
Chrysler brand sales are up overall this year. It's always hard to tie the effectiveness of an ad idea to sales. But regardless if the Imported from Detroit line is helping or hurting, Chrysler is sticking with it.
The ad, by Portland, Oregon-based agency Wieden & Kennedy, has around 15 million Youtube views.
The ad, for the Volkswagen Passat, features a kid dressed as Darth Vadar trying to use "The Force" to make things happen. For most of the ad, the lid is unsuccessful and disappointed. But at the end, the VW starts up as the pint-sized Darth Vadar commands it.
The kid's wonderment comes through the opaque mask, so kudos to the actor in the Star Wars costume. We see it was the Dad, from inside the kitchen, using the remote starter to power up the car on cue.
In a year when Budweiser, Pepsi and the snack food companies all mostly disappointed during the Super Bowl, a car ad from VW, produced by Deutsch/LA, was good enough to score No. 1 with Adweek for the whole year.
The spot's metrics are terrific: 44 million views on YouTube, a reported 6.8 billion impressions worldwide, more than $100 million in earned media.