A new route for auto advertising

As one of the world’s biggest motor shows gets into gear, we examine how changing technology is influencing car communications.

da Mark Tungate , Adforum

It’s a feast for car fans – and of course car dealers – this month, as the city of light plays host to the biennial Paris Motor Show, known as the Mondial de l’Auto to French automobilistes. The event was all the excuse we needed to take a look at how the world of advertising is playing with rapidly evolving automotive technology.

The rise of hybrid, electric and soon autonomous vehicles has changed the tone of auto advertising, which now tends to focus on safety and gadgetry rather than speed and performance. One award-winning ad from adam&eveDDB in London took a single element of technology and turned it into a characteristically humorous spot. Observe the awesome power of “The Button”.

Whether advertising is digital or traditional, we can’t resist great writing, which is why we loved this safety-centric spot from DDB Paris. DDB has been making thoughtful, sophisticated ads for VW literally for decades, and this falls well within that tradition.

Moving on from DDB, let’s take a look at a more recent spot from Kolle Rebbe in Hamburg for the Audi Q8. The technological aspect isn’t evident until the twist at the very end. The ad also features a fairly unusual sight in automotive ads until recently: a woman at the wheel.

Don’t forget that this year was a historic one in the auto industry, as women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to drive for the first time. Not all men were entirely happy with the idea, as this project from TBWA/RAAD and Nissan suggests.

Actually, according to R/GA, the very first driver was a woman – her name was Bertha Benz.

Talk about cars and you have to mention road safety. Technology is playing a role here, too. One of the most fascinating campaigns in this area – from Saatchi & Saatchi London and insurer Direct Line – updates something that doesn’t seem to have changed for decades: the pedestrian crossing.

Now for something a bit strange. It’s long – around 3 minutes – but it attracted rave reviews when it came out. Created by McCann Shanghai, it’s for the PATEO in-car navigator. PATEO, according to Campaign Brief Asia, “is one of the largest providers of services and products for connected cars in China”. Why choose this particular navigator? Because it really gets to know you.

Finally, for people who worry that technology will become omnipresent, perhaps even stealing their jobs, here’s a reassuring ad from Publicis Buenos Aires for the plucky little Renault Kangoo.