The internet and technology may have forever changed how companies try to sell us cars, but TV spots will still always be one of our favorite components of car marketing. Car commercials are a moment in time, and there’s almost no better way to gain real insight into the life and times of a specific car than to watch one of its TV spots.
Take for example the Chevy Camaro. We gearheads have always had an attraction to cars like the Camaro, with rear wheel drive, big engines, and plenty of opportunity for personalization. But there are lots of other cars that feature those same things, and marketing will try to relate to us and show why their car is different. That’s where the TV commercials come in. Follow along with us as we take a look at the ways Chevrolet used TV commercials over the last 45 years to relate to us gearheads, and to convince us to make the Camaro our choice.
Most Camaro fans have probably seen the first commercial for the 1967 Camaro with the volcano, but we stumbled on this lesser known western themed ad for the very first Camaro. Western movies and TV shows like Bonanza were wildly popular in the mid to late 60’s, and this commercial shows Chevrolet appealing to that same tough and rugged cowboy mentality that lots of car guys can relate to.
A Legend in Its Own Time
A 1978 Chevrolet Commercial was already referring to the 12 year old Camaro as a “legend”. Realistically, they had some pretty good cause to do so, because this would be the year that the 2 millionth Camaro would roll off the assembly line.
Of course, the “performance” they refer to from the smog friendly 4-barrell 350 was a bit more of a stretch. The 8.2 compression small block could only muster 185 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque – and that was the Z28’s engine. It was just a sad reality of the times.
Taking Charge with Chevrolet
In 1984, the revolutionary 3rd generation F-body was entering its third year of production, and the Camaro was all about being in command and getting things done. The message Chevy was conveying is hard to miss, given that there are five references to “taking charge” in the 30 second TV spot. Chevy was selling the Camaro as a sporty car for sporty people who live their lives how they want. It could also appeal to a wider audience thanks to its $9,600 price tag.
This was a big year for the Camaro, as it earned accolades left and right, and proved that it could hang with the best in the world. In fact, the 1984 Camaro Z28 was named the best handling car in America by the editors at Car and Driver.
Rock and Roll
In 1993, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots were all the rage and Chevy had just released the newly redesigned 4th Gen Camaro. Fast cars and rock and roll have always mixed well, so it’s completely understandable why Chevrolet went with a rock anthem as we watch the new red Camaro get tossed into a power slide. One thing that’s a bit different from the other commercials is that Chevy uses a bit of humor to connect with the audience along with playing up the Camaro’s power and features in this ad. It’s a good example for this era of the Camaro because it might appeal to the grunge rocker as much as it would a middle-aged father of two.
Set Yourself Apart
As you might expect, the 5th Gen Camaro was by far the easiest Camaro model to find a commercial for. It was as easy as going straight to Chevrolet’s own YouTube Channel and clicking on the Camaro’s own special page.
We found this commercial for the Camaro Special Editions to be the most fitting for today. We like to be connected with the heritage of the past, but we want to always be looking forward for the next big thing. We are also a very individualized society and like to stand out from the crowd. In this TV spot, Chevy manages to mix all those elements together with an ad that would relate to an older gearhead’s sense of nostalgia, or a young one’s desire to have the baddest, most individualized car out of all his friends.
Television ads for cars like the Camaro are one of those things that, the more they change – the more they stay the same. They might do it in different ways, but they will all appeal to our innate sense of independence and individuality, while giving us a glimpse of the society they were designed for. So which of these commercials was your favorite?