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Car Ad Corner: This Is The Worst Car Ad In The Last 10 Years

Coming from an advertising background has afforded me a few luxuries in my professional career. I’ve been able to work with some truly amazing creative minds that has helped me become more creative in my idea generation, my work, and my writing. These people have taken some of the most stringent guidelines and made art. It’s very inspiring to see day to day. I work at an ad agency as my day job.

Given this fact, I’d like to introduce you to a new segment here at Shifting Lanes called Car Ad Corner. This is where I’ll look at ads from the automotive world and grade them based on a few categories like creativity, ingenuity, copy (or the text seen/words being spoken), and payoff. These could be videos, print ads, or digital ads (being pop up, banner, or any other variety). If it’s an ad about a car, I will critique it. Does this make me an advertising expert? Not by any means, but I like to think I have some sort of advertising acumen and want to put it to good use in this space.

The whole catalyst for this idea was the ad in today’s video. As most of us know, Hyundai has branched off into the luxury segment with the model now turned brand called Genesis. Here is their first ad introducing the brand to the public.

I can respect Hyundai as a car maker. In the last 15 years, no company has come farther than they have. In the early 2000s, Hyundai made cars that were absolute shit heaps. Now, I can see myself owning several of them including the Sonata, Elantra GT, and now the Genesis. It’s too bad this mantra and future fortitude couldn’t translate into this ad because this is the worst car ad I’ve seen in 10 years. Not including dealer ads which make me want to hang myself.

When you’re introducing a luxury brand, don’t talk about respect. You’ve earned exactly zero respect. The creativity in the copy of this ad is a borderline fire-able offense. You cannot talk about respect when there is none on the table to take. Brands like BMW, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, and Bentley can talk about respect. They’ve been around. They command respect in the marketplace. Forcefully telling people to respect you, which is exactly what is going on here, make them have no incentive to respect you at all. The tag line of, “In a world scrambling to put itself first, respect is a breath of fresh luxury” is by far and away the worst tagline I’ve ever heard for a car brand in automotive history. First off, it makes no sense even in context. Secondly, just because your luxurious doesn’t mean you get respect, which goes back to my original point. The multiple voices make this even more strange especially in the tag line. None of the voices seem to be voice actors or have any sense of timing. It’s as if they gathered the ad team and hucked them in a sound booth and asked them to read a line 5 times back and called it a day.

The imagery here is disjointed and black and white bringing every cliché in the book to the forefront with slow motion, high gloss, and close-ups playing a starring role. They take random acts of respect and put them together like they mean something as a whole getting to a greater point. They don’t. They wander aimlessly back and forth telling no story. The only two pieces of video that go together at all are the soccer players. Everything else is just filler for the copy, which isn’t how good creative works properly. If you respected time as much as you say you do in the ad, you should have made a better ad and you should also give me my minute back.

This is why car ads are so poor these days. Cliché driven mindsets often lead to poor advertising and this has it in spades. If I was director of advertising at Genesis, I would fire my agency if they put something like this in front of me. And Genesis should fire their agency for this ad. It’s complete hack-worthy garbage. Again, this has no bearing on the company itself, which I actually think is very good. The ad agency that produced though, is very very bad.

(Source: YouTube)

Have you seen a particularly terrible or excellent automotive advertisement? Send them to me by clicking right here and I might just write about them.

About Gregson

Gregson's love affair with cars began at a young age thanks to his father who introduced him to racing. He's been a fan ever since he saw his first race live at Watkins Glen at the age of 5. He loves GT3, F1, Rally, Touring, and Le Mans styles of racing. Intermediate knowledge of internal combustion engines. Any reading done for pleasure is devoted to automotive journalism. Gregson owns a WRX and can 4-wheel drift directly into your hedges, no sweat. He currently is a Senior Copywriter for McCann Torre Lazur specializing in pharmaceutical advertising. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kate and their dog Savannah.

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