News : ‘Cogs’ voted the best car advert

Keith Adams

Auto Express magazine recently held a poll on its website to find what its readers think is the best-ever car advert. The eponymous Cogs advert came out top in the vote, although it was run close by Ford’s brilliant Ford Puma advert, starring Steve McQueen.

The 2003 ad for the Honda Accord took 31 per cent of the votes, while Peugeot’s 206 advert, ‘The Sculptor’, was third. Readers picked their favourite car advert from a list of 20 memorable adverts, shortlisted by the experts at Auto Express with the help of Richard Megson, creative director at the advertising agency Red Brick Road.

Steve Fowler, Auto Express editor-in-chief, said: ‘Honda’s cog ad ticks all the boxes for car ads: it’s incredibly watchable, clever and memorable with a great soundtrack, too. We’re not surprised it came in at number one in our poll, but the size of the vote for it shows what a great ad it is.’

What do you think? What are your favourite car adverts of all time? Post your links in the comments section, and we’ll choose our own AROnline advert of the year. We’ll start with an old favourite, which you’ll more than appreciate.

Keith Adams


  1. Nice reminder of the days when Honda they still had a fairly young, forward-looking image. Pity they have disappeared up a geriatric cul-de-sac, with fewer cars and sales.

  2. ‘Cog’ was an absolutely brilliant ad- one of those very rare genuinely clever ones that you don’t mind watching over and over. I have a DVD copy of it that came free with a sunday paper, along with the ‘making of’.

    The apparatus is a classic example of a ‘Rube Goldberg’ machine (aka Heath Robinsonry), ie a pointlessly elaborate machine to create a simple effect- which will always delight anyone’s inner 6 year old, and it’s inherent ridiculousness underpins the ever-wonderful Wallace and Gromit series.

    A very worthy winner for what is often percieved as a very dull marque (often unfairly).

  3. Yes, this Honda ad was great ~ very clever, very memorable.

    Here’s another good one ~ the Rover Metro launch advert ~ “Rover engine ~ not specified…”

    Keith, I too loved the 200 launch advert.

  4. The Honda ad is very clever. I’d suggest the Citroen CX/Grace Jones ad for dramatic appeal, and the Rover 800/Britische Architecht for the feeling that the home team might just have been about to get it dead right

  5. Jonathan, above –

    How did I forget the ‘British Architect’ Rover 800 advert! I’m always quoting it – “Wen ich te varl hetter…?” I very much doubt that my spelling is correct but the translation is/was “When you could have had….?” The inference being you’ve bought a Rover when you could have had a BMW, a Mercedes….

  6. That Honda advert is brilliant to be honest, far better than what is on the telly most of the time nowadays. I actually liked the Russ Swift/Montego 1.6L advert, and Vauxhall Nova building site advert too from the 1980’s

  7. I’ve still got my Honda Cogs DVD around.

    Other ones I remember well:

    Vauxhall “One Driver Forever Smitten”

    Volvo dummy drives a car of a skyscraper

    Renault’s Nicole – Papa series

    The Skoda cake car

  8. I talked to Russ after he had made the Montego advert and he said it a week to film and the only damage was that he got a “coat of paint too close” in the final manoeuvre and that was dabbed in with a touch-up brush and the car went back to the showroom!
    I know it is not an advert, but here is a link to Russ at Mill Garage, Boldon for the launch of the Mini Cooper S in 2002. Sorry about the quality, but it was my old Minolta camera. The interesting bit is that the spectators are standing within inches of Russ and nobody seems at all bothered. My daughter is the girl who gets out at the end of the two wheel driving stunt with Rus and FOUR passengers!

  9. Another late eighties, early nineties Rover TV advert comes to mind. This time it’s about 1994 and a Rover 600 is driving through French(?) countryside. The Rover drives by disturbing nothing but a squeeky door disturbs two old men playing chess, a noisy bike chain makes horses bolt…… From the days when ‘Above all, it’s a Rover’ really meant something, Rover really was a cut above Ford, Vauxhall.

  10. I remember the 800 coupe adverts. Nice looking big coupe, from the Rover badge thought “Nice Rover!”, and the tagline was ‘No, it’s a Rover’, which didn’t make sense in this situation.

  11. For me the best are the 206 sculptor, the 407 playtime is over, and the Ritmo hand built by robots.

    Special mention for the Renault 5 five doors

    …XJ40 dreams

  12. @23 – Ahh, the great Alan Price….still going strong – I’ve seen him live a couple of times in the last 3-4 years – he still plays this song too…..

  13. The best car advert by far is not here the VW Golf 5 “Night Driving” with west coast America Cityscape to the narration of Under MIlk Wood.

    PS That dam Honda ad was in my head the day I joyously sold my “skip from Swindon”

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