Celebrities in Auto Ads

Many car companies these days use celebrities to endorse their car. In the last year I’ve seen Mathew McConaughey in a Lincoln ad, Eminem bumping in a Chrysler, Jennifer Lopez in a Fiat 500, Madonna in a BMW in some strange music video featuring Clive Owen, and Brad Pitt’s interesting Cadillac endorsement that majorly featured in China. Ads today are vastly different to ads printed in the early auto years due to the change in focus of the ad over time. I compared McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial to the 1960 Pontiac print ad.

The 1960 Pontiac print ad features the car parked at some sort of golf club. Note the golfers in the back and nicely dressed ladies and gentleman along side the car.


“Fresh, crisp beauty for 1960”. Not often do you hear of a new style of car being described as “fresh” or “crisp”. They bring in the feelings that one would feel when being on a freshly cut golf course and present it to you with the car so you associate those feelings with the Pontiac. In many marketing schemes, green is associated with wealth and is often used to relax customers in stores. Red creates urgency and gives you, the customer, a sense of urgency that could make you feel as if you need it sooner. Blue is often used to create a sense of security and safety. Banks often use this color to make their customers feel those feelings and associate them along with their bank. This ad of the Pontiac instills safety and security, urgency, and a sense of wealth.

Lincoln used none of these tactics to reel in customers. Instead they used the familiar face of a celebrity; Mathew McConaughey. They used his face to bring forth feelings of familliarity. Just as politicians endorse other politicians, often called bandwagoning, car companies use celebrities to endorse their cars for support. The juvenile and simple thought is, “If they like the celebrity, and see them driving the car; the customer will like the car and want to drive it themselves!’.


Is using the familiarity of celebrities may seem to be a successful tactic however classic ads such as the 1960 Pontiac uses much more than familiarity. Classic ads use colors and senses to gain the trust of the customer. I see no celebrities in the Pontiac ad, and I see no colors in the Lincoln ad. No where in the Lincoln ad does it talk about the features or the price or the engine, the ad simply shows McConaughey along side it. Personally I would rather see the brand personality on an ad similar to the Pontiac, but I don’t see car companies using print ads such as this one anytime soon.

http://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/ – Marketing strategies in ads

http://www.autotrader.ca/newsfeatures/20141111/slideshow-top-ten-celebrity-car-commercials/#9HBv6DYrLFBrzAyS.97 – Celeb Ads in the auto industry

http://www.academia.edu/4591701/Celebrities_in_Advertising – Celebs in Advertising


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