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. Last time around, he told AdFreak he was trying to channel his inner drunken '60s copywriter with breathless retro enthusiasm for even the most minor amenities.

The new ads move back into the modern era and dial back the weirdness. Instead, 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."

Is he a likable guy? I mean, he drives this kind of hard sale, and he's not even a dog person. 

Seinfeld: To me, he is. If you like no BS, he's likable. 

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.

Really the only other recurring line through the ads is this phrase: "Tight, quick, comes in seven colors." That's not your usual luxury-car tagline.

Seinfeld: Well, this car's a little sportier. We're not really going for a luxury thing, I would say, as much as responsiveness.

Michael Accavitti: Performance is one of the areas that we feel the TLX really delivers on. You know, it's a luxury sports car in its own right, but the performance message is the one we want consumers to take away, and that was why we focused on that.

So, why focus so much on the colors, too? "Comes in seven colors" just seemed to me like a funny thing to call out each time. 

Seinfeld: (Laughing) Yeah. I don't know. It's just, like, let's get to the colors. I mean, that's the biggest thing to me with a car is, what color do I want? If the car's great, then the color's the only difficult decision. We're saying, you don't have to worry about the car; the car is great. Just figure out what color you like. 

After the fun, retro storytelling in the last campaign, I was a little surprised to see you move these ads into the dealership. Did you worry you'd be limiting yourself by moving it into this very traditional space?