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I frequently watch a web series by Jerry Seinfeld called Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. I live outside the US (but in a western country) and I just don't get the Acura (called Honda here) ads at the start and end of every episode!

They always feature a car salesman giving random advice while a customer passively looks at the car without saying anything. The only common slogan is "I sell cars, you sell you".

For example:

I just don't get why a car salesman barking "Don't pop bubble wrap while people are talking!" is suppose to help him "sell cars" while "you sell you". In fact if a car salesman started giving me life advice I'd be quite offended!

I assume the ads are suppose to be funny given they're linked to Seinfeld, but I must be missing some context. Is there a cultural reference I'm missing, or is this linked to a larger campaign that provides context to these ads? Or are these just bad ads?

  • None of the videos play anymore – Ankit Sharma Jun 10 '16 at 5:48
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The ads are written by Jerry Seinfeld, and in this article he explains what he was trying to achieve:

He's a car salesman life coach. He's the guy who is the antidote to the usual car commercial, which is all about what this is going to do for your lifestyle, how this car is going to change your social standing, and I thought it worked for Acura and for my personal perspective.

To me, what you want when you buy a car is a great car, and it's not about what the neighbors think, or how you'll look at yourself because you have it. So, that was kind of the idea of making this guy a guy who says, "Let me tell you what's really important. Don't block the sidewalk with your extendo dog leash."

The ads just reflect Seinfeld's off-beat comedy. You think they are bad, but I think they work as well as other car commercials (which typically show very little of the actual car and instead sell a lifestyle or life outcome if you buy the car).

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  • I've seen every episode of Seinfeld at least twice so I'm pretty familiar with his humour, but maybe I don't watch enough car ads to see the funny side. – thexacre Jan 17 '15 at 8:58
  • Giving this the answer as it actually provides some additional explanation, thanks! – thexacre Jan 19 '15 at 8:37
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From AdWeek.com article "Q&A: How Jerry Seinfeld Wrote His Ideal Salesman Into Acura's New Ads 'The kind of guy I would like to sell me a car' ":

Jerry Seinfeld's last set of Acura ads took the automaker to some truly odd places, like an emergency room plagued by putrid potato salad and a 1960s-era rocket launchpad. Now he's taking the brand somewhere quite a bit different: a car dealership.

Seinfeld has once again written the Acura ads that will bookened his hit video series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, on Crackle...we get a fast-talking, confident car salesman who dispenses a constant string of seemingly unrelated words of wisdom while showing off the new TLX.

We caught up with Seinfeld and Acura svp and general manager Michael Accavitti to get the story behind the new campaign and learn why this is the kind of guy Jerry wants selling him a car.

AdFreak: So these ads are obviously a bit of a departure from the last campaign. Who is this guy? Is he a car salesman? Life coach? Stand-up comedian?
Jerry Seinfeld: He's a car salesman life coach. He's the guy who is the antidote to the usual car commercial, which is all about what this is going to do for your lifestyle, how this car is going to change your social standing, and I thought it worked for Acura and for my personal perspective.

To me, what you want when you buy a car is a great car, and it's not about what the neighbors think, or how you'll look at yourself because you have it. So, that was kind of the idea of making this guy a guy who says, "Let me tell you what's really important. Don't block the sidewalk with your extendo dog leash."

...

The line, "I sell cars, you sell you"—did that exist before the character?
Seinfeld: The whole thing kind of came together with that line. We thought, that's the kind of guy I would like to sell me a car.


Also from thesmalls.com

At the end of 2013 Jerry Seinfeld created a series of car adverts to run as bookends to his award-winning , Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The writing may have resembled the elegance of the popular television show Mad Men yet were intended to parody the sort of advertising that an agency, such as the show’s Sterling Moss, may have produced during the fifties and sixties.
...
For the second season of these adverts (see above), which air both before and after “Comedians…”, - Seinfeld’s vision was not to pastiche the adverts as he had previously done but instead to homage the old advertising tactic that “this car will transform your life!”. For this he needed a character and so created Dan Granite, a fictional car salesman who offers prospective buyers his own motivational life advice as he attempts to sell them the Acura TLX – “I sell cars, you sell you”.

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  • So there's no additional context I'm missing? I guess it just doesn't match my sense of humour... Assuming you're from the US, did you laugh the first time you watched these? Did these ads air on public tv in the US too, or only on the web? – thexacre Jan 17 '15 at 8:52

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