Car dealers writhe and squirm in Carfax ads

These Carfax ads by Zimmerman run the risk of seeming dated with their mid-'90s Jerry Maguire-ish "Show me the Carfax!" mantra. And yet, like a pristine '01 VW Bug tucked behind the streamers at the rear of the lot, they exceed the sum of their parts. Taking shots at a tough-to-miss target helps (does anyone like used-car dealers?), as does the notion that Carfax empowers consumers to get the best prices in tough times. The spots are self-consciously goofy, but even that works to their advantage, taking some of the sting out of a process (car-price negotiation) that fills many of us with dread. At first, I cringed at the "car fox" hand puppet and other silly sound-alike jokes, but the repetition does drill the tagline into your head. I've been shouting, "Show me the Carfax!" all morning here at the office, and now AdFreak says I should feel free to work from my Honda Civic. Thanks a ton, Carfax!

—Posted by David Gianatasio

Join Dwyane WadeJulian DuncanAndrea BrimmerRick Gomez and more at Brandweek Masters Live, on Sept. 14-17, for main stage insights, in-depth Masterclasses and more. Register now (early-bird rates expire 9/1)