A.I. Top 12: The Strangest (best?) Vintage Japanese Car Commercials

October 3, 2011

Everyone does Top 10 lists, so we’ve decided to make this a Top 12 (mostly because we couldn’t bring ourselves to omit anymore of these gems).

In the wonderfully ambitious world of auto advertisements where promises are made, claims are staked, enthusiasm is comically forced and motoring dreams are realised, it’s a fair assumption to conclude that sometimes things get a bit confusing, over-zealous and, well… just slightly weird during those precious 30 seconds of your consumer-based time.

TV commercials generally blend themselves into your daily viewing atrocities, yet singled-out on their own the ads almost seem to take on an absurd level of ridiculousness and inspirational gusto. If there was a selling-theme to be found, the ad-men would find it and exploit it – even if it made absolutely no sense, whatsoever.

Here then, is a collection of the stranger side(s) of the Japanese 30-second automotive commercial… in no particular order.

-Blake J.

-Datsun Samurai – 1981

Troubling day out in the fields with an arrow-wielding Samurai on horseback chasing you down…? Pffft… Outwit the fella in a Datsun, of course..! Though, the end shot is rather confusing…

-Toyota MR2 – 1985

For those pesky moments when your mustachioed self (and gal) get caught inside a Pinball machine game…

-Mitsubishi Sigma – 1983

Your floppy-disc (Australian) future is here…!

-Toyota Celica – 1977

If you could take a car into outer space I’m not so sure if this would’ve been my first choice back then… But hey, the ad worked. Toyota sold a TON of these.

-Nissan Skyline – 1983

Awkwardly placing Hollywood stars within automotive ads is a long-standing tradition, but this one with Paul Newman just reeks of “Hey buddy, can I borrow you for 5 minutes..?”. One for the Japanes market. Awesome.

-Suzuki Alto – 1982

Woman drives Suzuki to meet friend in City Square/Park to eat a crepe. Child peddles along in one of the coolest contraptions I’ve ever seen. Both women eat crepes and chat. Woman gestures a condescendingly naughty/weird tick-flick/giggle towards child on pavement playing with a toy truck (same child..?). Child indulges a hands-on-hips-of-innocence laugh/glance back to women and laughs hysterically, nearly falling over… Who’s child is this…?! w.t.f.

-Datsun 280ZX 10th Anniversary – Black Gold..!

Bit of a classic here, yet how could we not include this…?! There are so many levels of awesomeness going on within this commercial that it almost leaves you speechless… More car-adverts should be like this…!

-Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore – 1983

I’m just… I… don’t know what to say here. A bit budget-constrained to hire a moving, breathing model for the ad…? Best car for hillside late-night City-gazing..? Great music translation though.

-Nissan Stanza – 1991

FAIL. $100 says he still went and bought the Camry.

-Toyota Corona – Not sure what year, doesn’t matter.

What the… James Bond inter-spliced intro, action shots, explosions and dubbed vehicular sounds…? SOLD!

-Mitsubishi Colt – 1986

Unchain that beast, will you. Almost looks kinda cool in that glossy black… in a guitar-shredding, Neon-based world, that is.

-Honda 600 – 1972 – Dealer Advert.

Not an ‘official’ commercial from the manufacturer, but oh-so good nontheless… ‘So you need to drive and park’ …Yes, I do… Kinda cute though, isn’t she…?

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