Are All Car Commercials Filmed In LA?
August 8, 2017 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I live in Los Angeles. I don't watch much TV, but when I do, it seems as if almost every car commercial that includes shots of cars driving against a skyline of buildings is shot in LA. Got me wondering if people in, say, Cincinnati see their skyline in the commercials they see. Anyone know?
posted by bluejayway to Media & Arts (21 answers total)
 
They're regionalized, though probably to only big markets. But I can confirm that all those same car commercials in SF have then driving against an SF backdrop, and usually with like "Visit your Northern California Acura dealer" voiceover, so presumably the car dealerships are grouped together in some useful way and most of those regions get their own skylined commercials.
posted by brainmouse at 7:37 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


In New England we get a lot of commercials of trucks driving through snowy conditions. You probably don't get much of that in southern CA.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:39 AM on August 8


Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of car ads in the southeast Michigan media market feature heavily Detroity imagery.
posted by Etrigan at 7:42 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


In New England we get a lot of commercials of trucks driving through snowy conditions. You probably don't get much of that in southern CA.

We also routinely see recognizable shots of Boston, Cape Cod, etc. (at least in the Boston TV market, if not the rest of NE).
posted by briank at 7:45 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Every weekend when we escape to upstate NY from Long Island, our route includes a glorious zig zag stretch that is a car commercial cliché.

(The local paper warns when the Hawk's Nest will be closed for...yes, shooting car commercials!)

googling says: "About four miles from Port Jervis, the Hawk's Nest section of New York Route 97, which is part of the Scenic Upper Delaware Byway, has been frequently used in advertisements and commercials like this one for Porsche https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LDWyFta4tU. In 2016 it had a brief but important role in the hit 3D movie, Dr. Strange. At the foot of the Hawk's Nest stand sturdy, hand laid stonework walls that serve as reminders of the Delaware and Hudson canal (1829-1899) which ran parallel to the river here...."
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:58 AM on August 8


When you see shots in ads (of the "your luxury car proves you are Committed to Excellence" type) of cars on narrow streets between vaguely Italianate-looking stone and modern glass, it's usually from NYC's financial district.
posted by praemunire at 8:17 AM on August 8


When you see shots in ads (of the "your luxury car proves you are Committed to Excellence" type) of cars on narrow streets between vaguely Italianate-looking stone and modern glass, it's usually from NYC's financial district.

Except when it's downtown LA.
posted by bluejayway at 8:48 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Some national commercials definitely shoot in other cities. I can't recall offhand, but I'm pretty sure most of the Mazda commercials I've seen were not shot in LA. Some use totally cgi urban environments as well. (I live in one of LA's Car Commercial Districts.)
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:48 AM on August 8


Yes all car commercials are filmed in Seattle, from what I see. ;-P
posted by humboldt32 at 9:15 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Got me wondering if people in, say, Cincinnati see their skyline in the commercials they see.

Yes, as a matter of fact, sometimes we do!

bona fides: i live in cincinnati
posted by cooker girl at 9:20 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I once stumbled across a car commercial being shot in Oakland. If you see an ad with a white SUV parked majestically in front of Lake Merritt and the downtown skyline at sunset, you can know that my girlfriend and I are probably behind the camera grumbling about having to walk around some stupid photo shoot.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:28 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I spend a fair amount of time in FiDi and I see specific streets in ads. Downtown LA has the glass, much less with the narrowness and the stone buildings that were deliberately built to mimic Florentine architecture, a weird (to me) and specific look distinct from the usual American Faux Neoclassical. I.e., where I am right now, I can see a building with an arched loggia on what appears to be the tenth floor. But, given the number of ads, I'm sure there is demand for plenty of different cliched backdrops.
posted by praemunire at 9:42 AM on August 8


I was actually surprised when I saw a commercial for the local fancy dealer that was shot on the streets of Des Moines.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:46 AM on August 8


I live in a mid-size city, and while I sometimes see local landmarks in car commercials, more often it appears to be "generic city", so probably LA or NYC.

Unless it's a pickup truck commercial, and then it's climbing boulders or driving through mud. Still with no local landmarks.
posted by Is It Over Yet? at 9:57 AM on August 8


There are also a ton of car commercials shot in DUMBO, NYC.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:18 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Vancouver is a really popular city for car ads, apparently. I remembered seeing a car ad in Vancouver so I googled "car commercial vancouver" and the results I got are a bunch of articles about how Vancouver is a popular city to be featured in car ads. My guess is that a nice, modern, cosmopolitan skyline is the perfect backdrop for selling the luxury experience of driving a sleek, modern car.

But with cities like LA and Vancouver, they are already hubs of filming stuff, which could also explain it. Obviously, LA is the hub of TV and film, and Vancouver is often used instead of LA because of tax breaks and cheaper cost of filming, plus all the niceness of LA.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:57 AM on August 8


Vancouver also has hills, which are great for drama in shots. Manhattan is technically pretty steeply canted, but the ordinary city streets in those areas do not offer the image that soothes the anxious ego of the narrow-minded luxury car buyer.

DUMBO offers "post-industrial setting plus river and bridge in background," always a winner.
posted by praemunire at 11:25 AM on August 8


Here in Indianapolis, you can see sometimes car commercials with the cars driving past Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Colts play).
posted by Thorzdad at 11:38 AM on August 8


Vancouver. Specifically, most car ads I see are shot on the sea to sky highway between horseshoe bay and whistler. It never occurred to me that others are not seeing vancouver ads....
posted by Valancy Rachel at 3:31 PM on August 8


As someone who works in advertising and lives in LA, a large number of the big car clients are based at agencies here. And what tends to happen is the client can't make up their mind about what they want for months and months and months and months due to internal politics or basic cowardice/idiocy and so they end up shooting something at the last minute and the easiest option is for the agency people to scout and shoot here.
posted by AllTheQuestions at 4:24 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


living in the EU (not Spain specifically) I see a lot of car commercials filmed in Barcelona.
posted by alchemist at 12:36 AM on August 9


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