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Cars aren’t going to speak for themselves, and an automotive Lorax hasn’t made an appearance, so brands turn to celebrities and public figures for endorsements.
The car spokesperson relationship can be tricky. A brand needs to find someone who shares its values, otherwise the endorsement seems inauthentic. And companies have to hope for the best conduct on behalf of the spokesperson, which is sort of a gamble with some A-listers.
Today, we rounded up our favorite car spokespeople of all time, past and present, for a little Friday fun, and put together some tips for your dealership to get the best representation online.
People were quick to judge Lincoln for choosing Matthew McConaughey as a pitchman, but we’d argue his commercials weren’t bad for the brand at all.
First of all — no one could stop talking about them for months.
Sure, most people were trying to figure out the ads, but all that conversation kept Lincoln in the news, which is ultimately its goal. (Joke’s on you Twitter!)
And the commercials are subtle and a little weird, which fits the brand pretty well. Lincoln isn’t shooting for a mainstream customer, after all.
Take the one with the bull blocking Matthew McConaughey’s path. The only dialogue is about a bull: “That’s a big bull. I think that’s ol’ Cyrus.”
There’s no hard sell for Lincoln and it also doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it worked because it was authentic to the auto brand and the spokesperson.
Back in the 80s, the fictional Joe Isuzu turned the Japanese brand from an unknown in America to a household name.
He did it by lying compulsively.
Joe Isuzu won over the American public with ridiculous claims like “If I’m lying, may lightning hit my mother” while “Good luck, mom” appeared on the screen. Or “I saved enough on this truck to buy this whole island … and all the fish” (He’s lying).
This was a time when Tivo didn’t exist and commercials were part of the whole TV experience, and Joe Isuzu’s ads gave everyone something to laugh about in between the undeniable hilarity of Alf and Night Court.
The brand may have faded into obscurity now, but Joe Isuzu still holds a place in our collective hearts as an important part of the 80s pop culture.
We can’t do a spokesperson post with talking about the only pitchman who had a logical reason to convince people to buy a car.
Once a Ford executive, Iacocca took the job as Chrysler CEO and decided to speak for the company himself. His famous sales pitch: “If you find a better car, buy it.”
That’s some straightforward honesty, and it worked for Chrysler. They were struggling through the early 80s, but Iacocca and his frank TV spots helped the auto manufacturer regain sales and get out of debt.
Dodge Dart Duo
Auto manufacturers don’t often focus on their economy lines, but Dodge proved it can be done successfully thanks to a really smart selection of Dart spokespeople.
The Office’s Craig Robinson and New Girl’s Jake Johnson did a series of commercials for the Dart. These ads are genuinely funny. So much so, that we watched all of the ads at once on YouTube and then rewatched the best ones again, for the sake of research.
Dodge racked up millions of views on YouTube, but it didn’t give a clickable link back to Dodge’s site in the video description or even on a note at the end of the video. That would’ve been a really great way to inbound leads from these successful videos.
Honorable Mention: Cartoon Car Sales
We want to give a shoutout to a totally fake spokesperson who still made us want to buy this SUV. Sure, we were 10 when The Simpsons introduced the Canyonyaro, but Krusty the Clown gave it his stamp of approval and that was good enough for us.
Who Are Your Spokespeople?
Your dealership probably doesn’t have the money to hire the likes of Matthew McConaughey or Jake Johnson, but you don’t need these celebrity spokespeople. Let the corporate headquarters worry about the face of your brand.
You should be worried about your local spokespeople — your dealership’s promoters.
Customers make the best spokespeople, and you can ensure their happiness by nurturing your leads. Download our free eBook for a comprehensive guide on tracking and nurturing leads to ensure your dealership has the best spokespeople in your market.