I was recently deep into an internet blog topic search looking for a commercial from my teen years that starred Frank Hirata skateboarding on a mini-ramp, I think it was either a Frosted Flakes or Sunny D! commercial. Anyway, I stumbled upon a late 70’s ad campaign that MG Midget ran to try and revitalize interest in their sports cars using skateboarders to illustrate how responsive the car is. This was a bit before my time as a skater began, but I was drawn it. It did, after all, contain two of the things that interest me the most, skateboarding and advertising. I read a little background info on the ads. Turns out that in the mid to late 70’s, the Midget was experiencing a lull in sales and wanted to give the car a new younger, spry feel. At the about the same time skateboarding popularity experience a peak in popularity. So, what better than to show how young, fun and responsive your sports car is than to compare it to skateboards. The commercial has color coordinated skaters and cars, cutting back and forth on a cone slalom coarse, through a park snake run and then surfing a spillway (Rick Howard’s spot, to all in the know!). Maybe the car’s response wasn’t exactly like a board on trucks, but it looked like a lot of fun driving up the embarkment. I don’t think the youthful & agile marketing campaign did the trick to reinvigorate the MG Midget sales in the long run, but it looked like a fun project.
Here’s a link to the MG MIdget commercial, and here are a couple of the print ads.
After seeing this commercial I thought of a few newer commercials that also use skateboarding to show the agility and responsive ability of the car:
The first is the new commercial for the 2013 Chevy line-up. During one section of the commercial it cuts to the Chevy Sonic and the car then starts to perform skateboard type tricks. I think it even does a backside lipslide.
The second is a ford promotion for the Fiesta driven by DC Shoes co-owner/co-founder Ken Block. This one isn’t quite as much of a blatant comparison, but knowing Ken Blocks history with skateboarding and the fact San Francisco is one big skatepark, I’d say that skateboarding heavily influenced it. Check it out. It is awesome.