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France’s Crème de la Crème Citroën

This ACES menu item looks at some ‘cream of the crop’ car commercials for the Citroen automotive company, founded by French industrialist Andre-Gustave Citroen in 1919.

World Firsts

Citroen has a proud history of some notable state of the art achievements. Their 1934 Traction Avant was the world’s first mass-produced front wheel drive car. It was also the first unibody automotive construction without a mechanical components supporting chassis.

In 1954 Citroen produced the world’s first hydropeumatic self-levelling suspension system, and their famous 1955 DS was the world’s first mass produced car with disc brakes.

Innovative swiveling headlights followed in 1967, and various national, international, and European Car of the Year Awards, of which the latter was won three times.


As the only car manufacturer to have won three different International Automobile Federation championships, Citroen’s motorsport record is equally impressive.

They won the World Rallye-raid Championship five times, the World Rally Championship eight times, and the World Touring Car Championship three times.

1. Citroën, Inspired By You

Advertising Agency: Traction BETC, Paris, France

Directed by Francois Rousselet, ‘Inspired By You’ is about a hitchiker’s time-travel through the car manufacturer’s 100 year old history. The commercial is a compellingly visuall chronicle of Citroën’s popular social and cultural impact.

Filmed on location in Sierra Nevada and Barcelona, Spain, the commercial’s soundtrack features Supertramp’s hit ‘Take the long way home’ by Rodger Hodson.

The original version of the commercial was extended to include some additional scenes, one of which was Citroën’s concept electric vehicle, the Ami One.

The zero-emission, ‘urban-mobility’ alternative to a scooter, is envisioned to be available on-demand through an app. It would be able to be recharged at home or at a charging station, and a fully charged Ami One, would provide a travelling range of 65 miles.

2. Citroen C4, Hula Girl

Advertising Agency: Traction BETC, Paris, France

Directed by Bart Timmer with great warmth, the charming story features a delightful performance by the young actress with her Hula dashboard doll.

The commercial, without any elaborate special effects, is a memorably effective demonstration of the French automaker’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension that irons out road bumps.

The C4 Cactus is the first vehicle in Europe to feature Citroen’s cushion suspension innovation along with Citroen’s Advanced Comfort Seats as standard equipment.

The soundtrack features Pi Ja Ma’s 2019 single, “Pixies, Sylphs and Fairies”.

3. Citroen C3, First Dates

Advertising Agency: Havas, London, UK

Havas London’s Citroen campaign for the British market, takes it queue from the popular Channel 4 TV series ‘First Dates’, but with a distinctive French flair.

The short story commercials about romance, love and heartbreak, play out in deeply emotional scenes with humorous twists at the end.

The French dialogue and English subtitle parodies are brilliantly directed by Camilla Zapiola and highly amusing.

The accompanying music soundtrack is by composer Papa Music.

4. Citroen C4 Picasso, The World Inside

Advertising Agency: H, Paris

The analogous description of “all the space in the world” was very cleverly conceptualised as a visual dramatisation of the Picasso’s competitive ‘space’ advantage selling proposition.

Skillfully directed by Ne-O, the flawlessly crafted cinematic execution is highly memorable and rewarding to view.

5. Citroen C4 SpaceTourer, Rip Curl

Advertising Agency: Traction BETC, Paris, France

The underpinning insight of Citroen and Rip Curl’s co-branding communication is that professional surfers spend so much time away from home, that feelings of isolation and participational exclusion by their children are not uncommon.

The campaign is about a fun, parent and child bonding exercise, made possible by Rip Curl’s innovation for children to be able imprint their parent’s surfboards with crayon drawn images they created,

Directing duo David & Doulas, passionate surfers and filmmakers from southern France, used three surfboards for the campaign with imprinted images of crayon drawings made by French pro surfer Vincent Duvignac’s young son.

Made by GreenFix in France, the crayons used are made from natural wax ingredients and non-toxic colour pigments.

An online campaign extension consisted of a competition for children, featured on Citroen’s Facebook page. By submitting drawings on the posted virtual board, a Rip Curl surfboard, imprinted with their crayon images, could be won.

6. Citroen C3, Dog Romance

Advertising Agency: Les Gaulois (previously named H), Paris, France

Keith Schofield’s skillful direction of a highly phantasised ‘love- at-first-sight’ canine encounter makes for rewarding viewing.

The cutely sentimental, visually told story to highlight the C3’s low fuel consumption advantage, is surprisingly emotive.

7. Citroen C3 HDi, Dog Stretching

Advertising Agency: Les Gaulois, Paris

This scenic, highly entertaining commercial about the C3 Hdi’s fuel economy, was directed by Joachim Back featuring a great soundtrack of the song ‘Sixteen Tons’ by The Platters.

8. Citroen DS3, Style Army

Advertising Agency: H (Havas Group), Paris, France

Directed by Sébastien Chantrel, the iconic commercial, titled ‘Sortez du rang’ in French, required 480 costumes for a huge cast on a spectacular march through the streets of Paris.

The militaristic demonstration is about the uninspiring ‘sameness’ of regimented conformity. The DS3 by contrast, has more ultra stylish colour combinations to choose from than one could possibly imagine. No two DS3 Citroens ever need to look quite the same.

The soundtrack music, “C’est beau la bourgeoisie”, is by Discobitch.

9. Citroen C4, Dancing Transformer

Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG, London

Inspired by Hasbro’s phenomenally popular transformer toy line, the commercial features a C4 dancing to “Jacques Your Body” (Make Me Sweat), by Les Rythmes Digitales.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp, the commercial has been lauded for its single-minded dramatisation of the C4’s technological edge, and highly effective audio-visual appeal.,

Automotive advertising professionals universally regard the dancing C4 to be one of the best, and most iconic car commercials of all time.

10. Citroen C4, Ice-Skating Transformer

Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG, London

The H5 Director Collective of Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Ludovic Houplin and Herve de Crecy, filmed the second highly watchable commercial in the Citroen transformer series on a frozen lake in Canada in 2006.

Additional filming was done by Audiomotion on a Sheffield ice rink by visual effects production company The Mill in London.

The Clio and Epica award winning commercial’s soundtrack is ‘Walking Away’, a TocaDisco remix, by British electro-funk band, The Egg.