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Women In The Driving Seat

In a world where women drivers account for half of todays motorists, and are key  influencers of family car purchase decisions, automotive manufacturers and marketers have in the main, relegated women to the back seat of advertising communication focus, and been slow in proportioning their brand promotion expenditures democratically to address contemporary psychographic, and gender discrimination imbalances.

However, as evidenced by the featured commercials, the imbalances of the past, may have taken a hike, with women very much in the driving seat of automotive related advertising scenarios going forward.

The huge interest shown by female viewers in Charlize Theron’s role in ‘The Italian Job’ as a cool, confident and highly skilled driver of a red Mini-Cooper, does seem to have helped quicken the pace of car brands featuring women behind the wheel.

1. Charlize Theron, The Italian Job Movie Clip

The 2003 Paramount Pictures, American remake of the 1969 British film ‘The Italian Job’, is a gold heist, action thriller directed by F. Gary Gray, starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham,

Filmed on location in Los Angeles, California, the car chase sequences are widely regarded by movie buffs as being amongst the top 10 of the 21st Century.

2. 1st For Women Insurance, Top Gun

Advertising Agency: Black River FC, Johannesburg, South Africa

Production Company: Velocity Films, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa

VFX Studio: BlackGinger, Cape Town, South Africa

It has been statistically-proven beyond any doubt, that women are safer drivers than men. They take fewer risks, make more careful decisions, and because of their lower risk profile, the 1st for Women Insurance Company was founded to offer lower premium policies to women motorists.

Many humorous advertising campaign commercials followed about the antics of men drivers, as a tongue-in-cheek justification for their ‘Women 1st’ initiative.

With four weeks of meticulous pre-planning, seven days of filming, and eight weeks of post production, the ‘1st For Women’ parody scenario, inspired by the original ‘Top Gun’ cinema block-buster starring Tom Cruise, was brought to spectacular life, by filmmaker and director, Anton Visser.

3. Audi E-Tron Sportback, Let It Go

Advertising Agency: 72andSunny, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Production Company: ANORAK, Berlin, Germany

Post Production and VFX Studios: MPC, London, UK

Sound Design and Music Studios: 750mph, London, UK

Directed by lauded filmmaker François Rousselet, ‘Let It Go’ stars English actress, and climate change activist, Maisie Williams, as part of Audi’s integrated campaign drive to spearhead a new era of mobility powered by sustainable energy.

Recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London, the soundtrack features Maisie singing her own interpretation of the hit song “Let It Go” composed by songwriters Kristen Anderson, and Robert Lopez, for Disney Studio’s Oscar-winning feature film “Frozen”.

The lyrics of the song underpin the message of the commercial, that transformation always starts with letting-go of something old, to create something new.

4. KIA Niro, Hero’s Journey

Advertising Agency: David&Goliath, Los Angeles, California, USA

Production Company: MJZ, Los Angeles, California, USA

Post Production and VFX Studios: The Mill, Los Angeles, California, USA

Directed by filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen, starring American actress, comedian and fashion designer Melissa McCarthy on an heroic mission of saving the environment in a KIA Niro Hybrid SUV, was aired during the 2017 live TV broadcast of the American Super Bowl football championships.

Always highly expectant of entertaining commercials, Kia’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ campaign succeeded in delig

5. Mercedes-Benz, The Journey That Changed Everything

Advertising Agency: Antoni Garage, Berlin, Germany

Production Company: Anorak Film, Berlin, Germany

Post Production Company: The Mill, London, UK

The 3 minute short-film, based on a true story, centres on Bertha Benz’s decision in 1888, to ‘test drive’ her husband Carl Benz’s motorised carriage invention, on a 160-km journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim, and back again, was brought to life by storytelling filmmaker Sebastian Strasser’s masterly direction.

With the intention to motivate her husband to keep faith in the sustainability of his invention, and to prove to skeptics that his motorised carriage was ‘fit-for-purpose’, Bertha and her two sons Eugene and Richard, made their way to Carl’s workshop early in the morning while he was still asleep, and from there started their journey, that became a milestone in the history of motorised transportation.

In reality, the history of Mercedes-Benz, is inseparable from the history of the automobile. Not only did they invent the world’s first self-propelled ‘motorwagen’ in 1886, Mercedes-Benz relentlessly continued with innovative engineering initiatives to introduce many automotive ‘world-firsts’.

Some of their ‘world-first’ achievements, include the Honeycomb Radiator in 1901, Electric Powered vehicles in 1906, the Multivalve Engine in 1910, the Supercharged Engine in 1921, Four Wheel Independent Suspension in 1931, Anti-Locking Braking System (ABS) in 1970, the Air Bag in 1981, and in 1995, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

6. Renault Megane E-Tech, Evolutionary Horsepower

Advertising Agency: Publicis Conseil, Paris France

Production Company: Division, Paris, France

Post Production and VFX Studios: The Mill, Paris, France

Ever since James Watt, an inventor of steam engines, adopted the term ‘horsepower’ in 1782 as a mathematical way to equate horses to engine power, horses have featured as an analogous automotive reference since the dawn of car marque advertising.

Directed by filmmaker François Rousselet, Renault’s 100% electric Mégane commercial, with its motivational focus on female motorists, highlights the evolution of clean transport, by drawing a parallel between the zero CO2 emission of horse riding through the ages, and Renault’s advanced automotive E-Tech engineering.

Filmed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the stylishly captured images, by Director of Photography, Matias Boucard, of riders and their mounts reacting to the Mégane’s silent arrival in the city, are a refreshing and enchanting take, on the age-old automotive horsepower analogy.

7. Toyota Highlander, Heroes

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, California, USA

Production Company: Ruffian, Los Angeles, California, USA

Post Production and VFX Studios: Alt.,Los Angeles, California, USA

In what is billed as the biggest advertising platform in the world, the Super Bowl Toyota Highlander ‘Heroes’ commercial, starring Canadian model and actress Cobie Smulders, was seen by well over 100+ million viewers, who tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers, to be crowned the football champions the 2020 Super Bowl.

Directed by Canadian cinematographer Trent Opalach, the cinematic portrayals of superhero-mom Cobie Smulders, driving a Highlander to rescue victims of various movie-genre dramas, play out against a soundtrack of “Love is the Reason” by American singer/songwriters and musicians, Jerry and Raun Burnham, and ends with an amusingly unexpected twist.

8. Nissan Rogue, Battle Tested

Advertising Agency: TBWA Chiat Day, Los Angeles, California, USA

Production Company: Framestore, Los Angeles, California, USA

Post Production an VFX Studios: ILM (Industrial Light and Music), San Francisco, California, USA

The epic ‘Battle Tested’ Nissan Rogue commercial, saw filmmaker Sebastian Strasser taking home a Cannes Gold Lion for Cinematography, and a Cannes Gold Lion for Direction.

The portrayed self-assurance of a cool headed woman driver, navigating her way through the chaotic onslaught of a simulated Star Wars battle, is a cinematic and entertaining dramatisation of testing the Nissan Rogue’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and Safety Shield Technologies, to an unprecedented height of endurance.