Top 5 Diesel TV Commercials

By Jeremy Del Nero on 21 February 2014
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There’s no question that commercials, especially during heavily watched programs such as the Super Bowl and the Oscars, are influential in a driver’s car-purchasing decisions.  While most diesel drivers are happy with their purchases and will remain loyal to their fuel choice, and likely to support their favorite diesel manufacturer, diesel commercials need to be especially creative to get drivers of more conventional vehicles to switch over.  Hybrid and electric vehicles are frequently the only ones in the spotlight as a green alternative to gasoline-powered cars, and as a result the benefits of driving diesel often go unnoticed.

However, diesel commercials on television have come a long way.  We’re here to take a look at some of our favorites from the past decade.

Watch all five commercials on page two of this article.

1.) Volkswagen – “Meet the Volkswagens”

In a 2009 Volkswagen commercial for the Jetta TDI, the automaker seeks to address a common misconception about diesels, namely that one doesn’t necessarily need to sacrifice efficiency for power and vice versa.   In the commercial, an elderly German neighbor named Max, who happens to be a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle, talks to a neighbor about his new Jetta TDI in comparison to the neighbor’s car, a Toyota Prius.  Max explains that his new Jetta is efficient, achieving an impressive 58 miles per gallon, while maintaining the “vroom” or raw power that seems to be absent in hybrid and electric vehicles, much to the dismay of the Prius owner.

2.) BMW – “Changes”

Commercials commonly portray the competition as less-than-worthy, and diesel commercials are no exception.  In BMW’s 2011 Super Bowl spot, conventional cars and trucks on the road are spewing black exhaust, polluting the very air we breathe and dirtying the landscape.  Then, out of the smoke, a BMW advanced diesel vehicle emerges, emissions-free, as David Bowie’s chorus of “ch- ch- ch- ch- changes” climaxes in the background.

3.) Volkswagen – “Vámonos”

Other commercials spin the environmentalism in a different light: imagine a road trip where you only need to refuel once a day.  A 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI spot boasts that you can travel 795 miles on one tank of diesel fuel.  That’s 12 hours of driving at 65 miles per hour, which apparently is all the time needed to become fluent in Spanish if you play the “Learning Spanish in the Car” series of tapes.

4.) Audi – “The Station”

An Audi commercial from last September, entitled “The Station,” features a variety of stupefied and concerned onlookers who are horrified by what they see: a driver about to pump diesel fuel into her Audi A8 TDI sedan.  This spot mainly tries to shatter the stereotype that only trucks and larger vehicles can run on diesel fuel, but does so in a humorous adrenaline-packed action movie format.  Do we have your attention now?

5.) Chevrolet – “The Cleanest Dirty Car”

To further disabuse people of the notion that “diesel is dirty,” Chevrolet’s 2014 Cruze Turbo Diesel commercial follows a dirt-encrusted white Cruze as it leaves brown and black tread marks in a spotless indoor testing facility.  The car itself is perhaps physically dirty, but as the surely qualified scientists (they do wear the requisite uniforms) point out, the exhaust from the car is definitely clean.

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