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These Retro Mitsubishi Ads Are On Drugs

Because Salvador Dali is exactly the guy from whom to buy an economy car.

Mitsubishi currently sells cars with the zip, verve and artistry of Hellman’s own. Actually, save for the rally-inspired Lancer Evolution, Mitsubishi has been a mayonnaise vendor for the better part of a decade. The Eclipse was swoopy but gutless; the Galant was an impoverished Camry copy; the Mirage is legitimately the least luxurious car on sale. So, on the product end of things, Mitsubishi is at the kids table. But in the early Nineties, in the advertising realm? Mitsubishi was at the head of the adults table, sitting next to Salvador Dali, guzzling absinthe.  

I don’t speak Japanese. No one in the office speaks Japanese either, and it’s impossible to use Google Translate when your source material is text on a wavy, VHS-quality YouTube upload. Good thing the text isn’t important. Instead, lose yourself in the surreal, stylized imagery of this Mitsubishi ad supercut. Thirty seconds in, a landscape materializes comprised of versions of the arch from Dali’s Visions of Eternity, plus a gargoyle in the foreground, for good measure. (It’s a classic ad school maxim: Add a gargoyle!) Next, a Janet Jacket look-alike wearing a single cubic zirconia earring the size of a kumquat glares at the camera. All the while, a pair of Mitsubishi Minica micro-hatchbacks scoot around, jumping between locations like those wily, dead twins in The Shining. Come drive with us, Danny. Forever.

Later on, a wee Minica rolls through Dali’s Figures and Melting Piano In Landscape before nosing into a glowing white sphere that gives off more than vaguely-uterine vibes. A quick cut. A borzoi runs in slow-motion behind a sepia filter, like footage nabbed from a dog show documentary if Terrence Malick were directing.

Time is fluid, speeding, slowing and stopping at will. The world is neither two- nor three-dimensional. Nothing is as we know it. The Mitsubishi Minica: For when your shrooms dealer is away at Burning Man.