I’ve noticed something about car commercials lately: many of them are shot in the Los Angeles area. Here are three common scenes:
1. Driving down a few blocks of downtown Los Angeles, possibly with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the background or in the parking garage that provides a nice overlook over the city. Even if you don’t know the concert hall by name, you may have seen this behind numerous cars:
It takes some work to block off urban streets but these few blocks of downtown get a lot of air time.
2. Driving on Highway 101 along the Pacific Coast. Think of scenes with cliffs on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other, a sunny day, and a beautiful car driving down a narrow road over curves and with sweeping vistas.
3. Driving along Mulholland Drive with the city in the background or along a similar road in the hills north of downtown Los Angeles. One of the commercials on the air right now ends with a shot of the new car winding its way toward the Griffiths Observatory. The observatory is a nice place to explore and there are good views:
Overall, I suspect there is some good reason for all of this. Perhaps it to simply take advantage of all of the power and tools of Hollywood. Perhaps LA is great because of its varied landscape. Perhaps there are some tax breaks involved. However, there are plenty of other cities where this filming could take place and LA is far away from Detroit, the traditional center of American cars. At the same time, this might provide more reasons why that Super Bowl commercial about being “Imported from Detroit” received so much attention.