Not all car ads were bad in the dim dark past. Ford popped out a hilarious ad with a great soundtrack for the Fiesta in 2004.
The Fiesta was new to our shores back then, replacing the absolutely dire, Kia-sourced Festiva. Which was an utter dog of a car.
Perhaps as a reaction to the junk that was getting around at the time (both cars and their TV ads), Ford’s agency grabbed Groove Armada’s I See You Baby, which was still absolutely massive five years after launch.
Naturally, some people took exception to the line
I see you baby/Shakin’ that ass
and complained to the Advertising Standards folks (original here). Obviously it was dismissed and a good thing too.
It’s a great ad – funny, clever and turns a few cliches on their heads. Taking the stereotype of the humourless German, sticking them in white coats and having them say these lines was a bit borderline, but it was a reaction to some of the ridiculously sexist ads that had gone before them.
Having not seen it in over fifteen years, the “Who’s your daddy?” line made me snort-laugh.
What the ad did was convey – as the more recent Holden Astra spots did – that this was a European car. Breaking away from the perception of the previous dung box Ford sold in the light car segment needed something bold.
The 2004 Fiesta was just that. And it got a funny, memorable ad to go with it.
Would they get away with it now?
Yeah, probably. While the ADSB would get another round of complaints about the Groove Armada track (a timeless classic, I think you’ll agree)(also used by Renault in the UK Megane ad), it would be a welcome relief from car insurance ads with people shouting at us from horseback.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.