The One Show's Top 10 Automobile Commercials from the Past 25 Years

The One Show teamed up with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to bring you the One Show's Top 10 Automobile Commercials from the past 25 years. Judged by a panel of over 70 creatives and journalists from around the world, the One Show's Top Automobile Commercials features classics from the past and present that represent the best of the best.

  • 1


    Agency: Wieden+Kennedy/London
    Client: Honda
    Year: 2004
    1 of 10

    This groundbreaking spot from Wieden+Kennedy in London is one of the first examples of "green" advertising. Garrison Keillor sings and narrates, which helped change people's perception of diesel engines.
  • 2


    Agency: Wieden+Kennedy/London
    Client: Honda
    Year: 2003
    2 of 10

    Wieden+Kennedy sought to revitalize a brand that was lacking a strong identity, and ended up making one of the most celebrated ads of all time. In a single take with no special effects, individual parts of the new Accord engage in a complex and visually arresting interaction.
  • 3

    The Force

    Agency: Deutsch/Los Angeles
    Client: Volkswagen
    Year: 2011
    3 of 10

    This 2011 Super Bowl favorite enjoyed mass popularity, with over 55 million views online. The simple narrative is based on a story of humanity and parenthood, which clearly resonated with its millions of viewers.
  • 4

    The Hire

    Agency: Fallon/Minneapolis
    Client: BMW
    Year: 2001
    4 of 10

    This juggernaut of a campaign enlisted David Fincher's film-production company, Anonymous Content, to wrangle some of Hollywood's most powerful figures, including director Guy Ritchie and John Frankenheimer, actors Clive Owen, Madonna, Forrest Whittaker, and Mickey Rourke—to create the eight acclaimed short films.
  • 5

    Sheet Metal

    Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco
    Client: Saturn
    Year: 2002
    5 of 10

    Saturn's "Sheet Metal" is one of the most imaginative car spots in recent years, widely lauded for its originality. The ad portrays a number of auto-related scenarios—a car backing out a driveway, bad traffic on a highway, children on a school bus--with no cars involved. Instead, we see hundreds of people moving slowly forward on an overpass, children filing behind a guy dressed a bus driver. At the end of the spot a voiceover drives home the underlying point: "When we design our cars, we don't see sheet metal. We see the people who may one day drive them. "
  • 6

    Born of Fire

    Agency: Wieden+Kennedy/Portland
    Client: Chrysler
    Year: 2011
    6 of 10

    This powerful spot celebrating Detroit and its automotive legacy features a defiant voiceover, challenging viewers with lines like "What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? More than most…it's the hottest fires that make the hardest steel" The copy, credited to the Wieden team of Joe Staples, Mark Fitzloff, Kevin Jones, Greg Rutter and Dan Kroeger, with art direction by Jim Lasser, drives the spot, as well as its contrasting imagery of urban decay alongside great landmarks in Detroit, with help from hip-hop artist and producer Eminem.
  • 7


    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day/Los Angeles
    Client: Nissan
    Year: 1997
    7 of 10

    With a rip-roaring guitar riff from Van Halen and stunning visuals, "Toys" became an instant classic when it launched back in the 1990s.
  • 8

    Lamp Post

    Agency: BMP DDB/London
    Client: Volkswagen
    Year: 1998
    8 of 10

    BMP DDB was given the task of persuading consumers that VWs weren't as expensive as they thought. They approached the challenge with a simple and economical concept. They created "Lamp Post" featuring a workman cushioning a lamp post to protect pedestrians struck dumb by a poster advertising the VW Polo's low price. The clever spot with a touch of Brit humor won praise from the industry and also increased VW's market share.
  • 9

    Milky Way

    Agency: Arnold Worldwide/Boston
    Client: Volkswagen
    Year: 1999
    9 of 10

    This atmospheric spot for Volkswagen was originally supposed to feature the song "Under the Milky Way," by the Australian band The Church. However, the creative team at Arnold, which included Lance Jensen, Shane Hutton, Tim Vaccarino and Alan Pafenbach, couldn't get "Pink Moon" by the cult folk artist Nick Drake, out of their heads. They moved forward with Drake's now classic song, which elevated the spot and won the commercial several awards. Arnold put the ad on the site with a link for people to buy Nick Drake's CD online. Sales of the album that year jumped from 6,000 copies to 74,000 for the singer, who died in 1974.
  • 10

    Snow Covered

    Agency: Bozell Worldwide/Southfield
    Client: Chrysler/Jeep
    Year: 1994
    10 of 10

    Earning top honors around the world, “Snow Covered” from Bozell Worldwide achieved its stunning visuals through a rigorous production shoot in Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming as well as the Upper Northwest Territories above Canada. Hailed for its beauty and originality, the legendary spot was shot and directed by Eric Saarinen, son of famed architect Eero Saarinen, with 3-D effects by Digital Domain.
  • Public Choice Winner - Camry Reinvented

    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi/Los Angeles
    Client: Toyota
    Year: 2012

    Saatchi & Saatchi's playful spot, which originally aired during the Super Bowl XLVI game, took staples of everyday life and pondered how much better they would be if "reinvented." We see Department of Motor Vehicles as a joyful place of friendly, smiling workers, as well as a baby that never requires a change—the premise being that good things, including the Camry, are always better when "reinvented."