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Most memorable car adverts

The new Peugeot advert for the 30th anniversary 208GTi, which starts with archive footage of the original 205GTi, has got many of us reminiscing about great car ads, past and present.

While many agencies have wasted their money on the obvious cheese, such as the Peugeot 405 ‘Take My Breath Away” ad with its blazing fields of corn, just occasionally, you get a real work of art that sticks in your mind for ages. Although whether that makes you buy the car or not, is another question altogether.

Here are our ten favourite TV car adverts:

1. Nicole and Papa – Who could forget the classic series of flirty ads for the Renault Clio? So playful, so sexy and so French, they made even a moderate hatchback seem exciting. Watch it here

2. Cake car – Perhaps an even greater achievement was to make our mouths water at a Skoda of all things. The superb sponge sculpture of the Fabia certainly prompted us to go out shopping, but for most of us it was for cake not cars. Watch it here

3. Citroen Transformers – Whatever you may think of Michael Bay’s blockbusters, there’s no denying that Citroen hit their target audience right on the head with their famous dancing transformer C4 and funky track. Watch it here

4. More robots – Robots were nothing new in car ads, of course. One of the most memorable car ads dates back decades, with the Fiat Strada famously ‘hand built by robots’. Watch it here

5. Nice car! – Just like Nicole and Papa, we all like to think our cars make our lives a little more exciting. So we were happy to play along with the couple who seemed to meet for an illicit date in his Peugeot 306, but were in fact Mr & Mrs Normal, just like us. “Nice car! Wanna show me what it can do?” Watch it here

6. The impossible made possible – A more recent ad to play with our expectations was the Honda CR-V, which used a series of superb 3D optical illusions to remind us that not everything is quite as it seems. Watch it here

7. Singing in the rain – More clever camera trickery had us believe that Gene Kelly had been resurrected to star in the advert for the new Volkswagen Golf GTi. A remix on the song heralded a remix on the iconic car. Watch it here

8. Vroom vroom – You don’t always need fancy camera work to sell a car. Audi simply revved their throaty R8 V10 for 30 seconds and had petrol heads rushing to their showrooms to hear more. Watch it here

9. Kids – Cute kids are always a winner when it comes to car ads, with the ‘Dads’ of the Vauxhall Zafira a massive hit across the UK. A mini Darth Vader had similar success, starting his Dad’s Volkswagen Passat using ‘The Force’. Watch them here and here

10. The cog – No list of car commercials would be complete without the ad that regularly tops everyone’s list of all time favourites. 606 takes and $6million in the making, the Honda Cog is a piece of domino toppling genius. What few people realise is that there was no CGI or camera tricks involved at all – every single piece of the car moves in perfect synchrony to start the next piece moving in true live action. Watch it here and be amazed!

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