This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

Car Commercials Kicking Butt

I’ve been noticing a lot of stellar car commercials lately.
Though a handful of car companies sold more in 2009 than in 2008 and are gaining share (Subaru of Japan and Honda and Kia of Korea), most companies are only hearing a faint echo in the American public’s empty wallet.
We’ve all heard the adage, “Cutting advertising to save money is like stopping your clock to save time.” Perhaps these car companies and their agencies are taking that to heart. It seems a genre that I usually feel is mediocre at best has been revving its engine and turning out some great work.
The Dodge Charger Commercial, voice-over by Michael C Hall, is well written and visually interesting. Who are these dudes blankly staring at me and my husband as we fast forward through the commercial break of last week’s episode of The Bachelor (which incidentally furthers their argument)? Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
I am charmed by the Kia Sorento spots featuring life-sized children’s toys having the time of their lives while jet skiing, partying at clubs with ridiculously good looking people, riding a mechanical bull- all the things I might do, were I so inclined and perhaps a bit more hip. The lifestyle of a Sorento owner- who knew it entails such vivid nightlife and day-play, and yet is family-friendly to boot? Agency: David&Goliath;
And lastly, the Swaggerwagon spots from Toyota Sienna are genuinely funny, employing Michael Scott-like humor. Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi LA.
Will I buy a new car because of these commercials? No. But brand awareness is high and I’m engaged.
Just as I was many years ago. I drive a Volkswagen, which is probably because I was stained by the elegance of their Drivers Wanted campaign.