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Car and Driver: Advertising the 1990s: It Was Longer Ago than You Think


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1990s AdsAh, the 1990s. Not yet seen in the retro-ironic light that has washed over the ’80s, and yet they’re now officially a generation ago and things really were different then. Advertising is nothing if not a cultural barometer, and this roundup of ads from the ’90s provides a good indication of which way the winds blew.

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To realize how long ago it was, note the ads from relatively newfangled Japanese luxury-brand startups Infiniti and Lexus. We also see a last gasp from Alfa Romeo (for a while anyway) and the introduction of a new sports-car icon, the Mazda Miata. Some well-known campaigns from the era include Porsche’s, which combined high-art photography with minimal copy, Nissan’s appeals to dog lovers, and a cartoon camel selling smokes. Note: You can click or tap the ads to enlarge.

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Cincinnati Microwave Communications – January 1990
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1990s Best Ads:

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Infiniti – April 1990
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199004-001

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READ MORE: 44 of the Most Bodacious Car Ads of the 1980s

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Chevrolet Caprice – May 1990
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1990s Best Ads:

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Alfa Romeo – July 1990
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199007-001

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Mazda Miata – July 1990
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199007-004

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Lexus GS – March 1994

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LEXUS_1994March

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Dodge Neon – April 1994
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199404-002

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READ MORE: Our Original 1994 Dodge Neon Road Test

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Joe Camel – April 1994

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camel

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Chevrolet Impala SS – April 1994
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READ MORE: Our Original 1994 Chevrolet Impala SS Road Test 

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Nissan Maxima – July 1994

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199404-003

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Porsche 911 Turbo – April 1995
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199504-001

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READ MORE: July 1995 Comparison: 911 Turbo vs. NSX, F355, Viper, and Esprit

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Car and Driver Online – October 1997
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199710-001

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Nissan Frontier – December 1997
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199712-001

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