Since we love to bring more knowledge to our readers, we’ll start by telling you that Peugeot is based in Sochaux, almost 5 hours east of Paris which is a part of the PSA group with the other French based car manufacturer Citroën. Neither of them are widely known in North America except for some of you who have been in France or have been following the World Rally Championship (WRC) or the 24 hours of Le Mans.
One of its biggest success was the hot hatchback 205 that was launched in 1983 while Peugeot was in bad financial shape. During its 15 years of production, 5.3 million cars have been sold within Europe. It has been the second biggest commercial success of Peugeot, and came at the best time to help them live another day.
A year later, they released the GTi version. This hot and racy version has been a fantastic car that allowed Peugeot to win a WRC that same year. It’s quite a success story for the Lion brand which has led to an epic commercial in 1987. Gérard Pires was the director of the ad named “The Bomber”. It features a James Bond look-alike who’s telling us that he kept its latest weapon: the 205 GTi which he used to race against a… bomber! Yes, you read it correctly, and it happened without any special effects. If you watch it carefully, you’ll even see that the bomber “hit” the car’s roof at 0:28 and manage to break the antenna.
The car was a hit, and the ad is still a classic in Europe. So when Peugeot announced a 30th Anniversary car to celebrate the 205 GTi, there were great expectations surrounding the car and the commercial.
As we are not Top Gear, we won’t review the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary, but we will have a look at its commercial named “The Legend Returns”. Released a couple weeks ago by the Paris based BETC Agency, they decided to pay a tribute to its legacy by starting out with the original footage. When you see the bomber getting closer to the 205, a more powerful and modern 208 drifts onto the ice. But wait. Is it me, or are the special effects not so great?
You don’t need more than 15 seconds to figure that it is quite bad. Remember, in the 1987, they didn’t use FX, but in this one, they used enough for a year. After the ice gets smashed by missiles, the car manages to escape the bomber, and fake-slides in the snow. Why didn’t they even use a real car and a real driver? But, the silliness reaches a new level when the 208 is being chased by a Eurocopter Tiger… Whoa. To defeat it, the talentless actor had to loop over it so the Tiger pilot gets stuck in the lift cables. The ad ends like its older brother with a woman styled like the original actress tells the actor “You made me wait” to her man.
It is with regret that I saw the 1987 ad being remastered for the worst. Too much poor special effects, craziness, and silliness. I would expect something better than that to celebrate a car industry icon. If you want to do something as bold, crazy and epic as the old one but with today’s technology, at least make it looks good. If they wanted to have a bomber, a chopper and billions of explosions, maybe they should have asked Michael Bay to direct it!
We can just hope for Peugeot that the 208 GTi isn’t as cheap and synthetic as this ad…