2009 Los Angeles Auto Show

2009 Los Angeles Auto Show

Today's car ads are hip and sophisticated--they know what they're doing when it comes to attracting members of Generation Y. But that hasn't always been the case.

Take a look at this ad for the new Fiesta and you will see what I am talking about. Here, Ford's used pop art to show off the Fiesta's sky-high fuel economy. Smart. They also used the right kind of music (Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros' "Janglin'"). It's all well done, and pretty attractive to college-age buyers looking for a stylish car. Mission accomplished.

Just two decades ago, that hardly was the case. We all know that trends and music back then seem awful now, but some of the car ads (and the cars they were advertising) are just plain embarrassing. Even in context.

Need proof? Here are five of the least convincing ads of the recent past:

Dodge Daytona

Sure, turbocharging was a big deal back in the Eighties--and it is today. But this ad lost us when they paired "front-wheel drive" and "sportscar." We're calling no way. The mullet in this Corey Hart-ish video is a dead giveaway. Just like the mullet, the Daytona's time passed before it ever had begun.

Ford Taurus

Dodge isn't the only one guilty of embarrassing advertising. For having a name that rhymes with practically nothing, you have to admit the songwriters did do a good job of coming up with a slant rhyme that was still pretty catchy. Actually, it is a bit too catchy. I've been shouting "FOR US!" to myself all morning.

Geo Prizm

As a former Geo owner, I can tell you that this ad is the most truthful of the bunch. Every time I parked the car I had to get out and dance around in tights. The funny thing is, they tell it like getting to know Geo was getting to know a whole new brand. However, the Prizm was a Toyota. The Tracker and the Metro were both from Suzuki. So, getting to know Geo was like getting to know Prince when he changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph.

Chevy Camaro Berlinetta

What an absolutely hilarious ad. The song, the catchphrase and the overenthusiastic model all make it comedy gold. The sad thing is, they were serious when they made it. The car, I mean.

Chevy Blazer

Speaking of overenthusiastic people in ads, this Chevy Blazer ad seems more about selling up-and-coming legend Michael Jordan than it cares about selling the Blazer itself. Okay, maybe this worked in the day--but let's face it, back in the nineties anything that Michael Jordan said was great sold like hotcakes. Gatorade, Nike and the Chevrolet Blazer all got his endorsement. Gatorade and Nike are still here, although the Blazer took a dive as soon as the word "trail" was added to the front.

Feel free to send in any more awful ads you happen to find out there on the internet!