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Four decades of Holden Commodore commercials

By Daniel DeGasperi, 27 Oct 2017 Features

Holden Monaro main

How Commodore sales were driven by marketing themes over 39 years

How will Holden market the fully imported ZB Commodore to locals?

Certainly the ‘new kind of car for Australia’ tagline of the original VB Commodore would technically work.

Over its 39-year history the Commodore has at various points been promoted around its increased global sophistication, its newfound safety equipment, its more advanced engineering and – of course – the sportiness of its performance models.

Holden-VF-Commodore.jpgEmerging from the football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars era of Kingswoods came the VB SLE in all its red velour-trimmed, and headlight wiper-equipped glory.

While the current issue of MOTOR celebrates the life of Aussie-made Holdens, YouTube can bring video to life here. So from 1978 until now, here is how the Commodore has, at various stages, been carted to market.

1978-1988 – ‘the advanced Australian’

As the Australian dollar was floated and trade barriers started to fall, our country started to become globalised. An emerging theme? Why buy an expensive import when Commodore – the VH dubbed the ‘advanced Australian’, the VK ‘world class’ – offered more for less?

1988-1997 – safety in high Acclaim

Suddenly by the 1990s acronyms such as ABS and IRS became part of the automotive lexicon as Holden (and Ford, Mitsubishi and Toyota) turned advertising attention to one-upping each other on the likes of airbag count. Enter the safety-pack Commodore Acclaim.

1997-2006 – family focus flicked for sports

Towards the turn of the new millenium the ‘radically new’ VT Commodore became the last we would see of the base-level, Executive manual taking centre stage in ads. Then it was all ute on Thunderstruck, Monaro on the prowl, and VY seeking out corners.

2006-2017 – finding its feet

With 2006’s VE and 2013’s VF, the Commodore took a turn to the past. It would again be billed as the the most advanced car ever created locally – but this time there was no mention of global benchmarks. The large Holden found its feet, and stood tall as its own.