5 More Great Diesel Commercials

By Jeremy Del Nero on 20 March 2014
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Family watching television 1958Last month, we highlighted five of our favorite diesel commercials from the past decade.  Now that we’ve been drawn into the world of diesel commercials, however, a few more have caught our eye and we’d like to share some new and some old with you.

Diesel ads are especially enjoyable because they often portray diesels as super-machines in comparison to lame gasoline-powered autos.  Each automaker has its own style when it comes to touting the benefits of diesel, and the variety ensures a consistently fresh take on diesel.

Watch the commercials on page two of this article.

1.) Mercedes-Benz – “Hedgehogs”

In this 30-second commercial from 1993, when diesel-powered automobiles were still an up and coming type, a group of hedgehogs on the roadside don gasmasks to protect themselves against the fumes of cars rushing past.  Then, upon seeing a 1994 Mercedes-Benz C-Class diesel approach, they remove their masks and breathe deeply, muttering “delicious” as they take a whiff of the clean air left in the Benz’ wake.  While it may be a bit of a stretch to assume that wild animals would welcome a lungful of diesel exhaust, the commercial effectively paints the Mercedes diesel as a cleaner alternative, and adding cute animals never hurts.

2.) BMW – “The Talk”

One of our favorite BMW commercials, “The Talk” is part of the automaker’s “Come Clean” series of ads, all of which utilize misdirection as a comedic tool.  This spot for the BMW 535d diesel-powered sedan starts with a woman uttering the classic “we need to talk” line to her boyfriend. We’re meant to believe that this is the beginning of a breakup speech, but it abruptly turns into a sheepish confession: she switched to diesel, and is owning up to the supposedly controversial decision.  Relieved, the man hops into the car and takes it for a spin, revving the engine and eliciting a raspy “do that again” from his partner in the passenger seat.  The ad is particularly effective because it engages viewers from the get-go and successfully sexualizes BMWs and diesels in general.

3.) Chevrolet – “The New Efficient”

In Chevrolet’s newest diesel commercial, Stan enters the convenience store at a gas station to pay for his pump.  Upon making his entrance, Stan is instantly recognized and saluted by the locals; he is clearly a regular.  Then, the music drops and heads turn as the door opens and a nameless new face enters.  The stranger quickly buys a bottle of water and some fruit before returning to his parked Chevy Cruze Diesel, which we’re meant to notice is not at a pump.  The tagline, “gas stations: where nobody knows your name,” would have us believe that driving a Cruze Diesel will mean you never need to visit a filling station except for a snack.  While this of course cannot be true, the commercial touts that the Cruze Diesel achieves the best gas mileage (46 mpg or 5.1 l/100 km) of any non-hybrid in the United States..

4.) Volkswagen – “Laugh”

Volkswagen is back and once again boasting that drivers can go more than 600 miles on one tank in the Jetta TDI Diesel.  This time, instead of its occupants becoming fluent in Spanish, a young man and a friend-of-a-friend are preparing for a nine-hour drive.  He delegates the audio controls to his guest, who responds that she “hopes he likes polka.” She laughs at her own joke… and continues to laugh.  As her laugh turns abnormal and begins to resemble, in the words of Basil Fawlty, “somebody machine-gunning a seal,” he begins to realize that this is going to be a very long nine hours.  Volkswagen’s message?  Pick your passengers wisely.

5.) BMW – “BB”

This short, 15-second spot aims to address the environmental benefits of diesel almost in the manner of a public service announcement.  According to the commercial, if everybody switched to diesel, a collective 90 million gallons of fuel would be saved every day.  A man in the video holds up a metallic pellet to represent a gallon of fuel.  At the end of the clip, 90 million pellets (give or take a few million) rain down on him to try to communicate the sheer amount of fuel we could be saving.

(Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

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