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June 2, 2019

The Weirdest Car Ad Ever: Watch Grace Jones' “Banned” Citroën CX Commercial, 1985

It might be possible to describe this advert as a celebrity endorsement, but only because there’s a celebrity in it. Grace Jones was hot property when this commercial was screened in 1985, having just starred as a Bond girl alongside Roger Moore in the movie A View To A KilI, and alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Destroyer the previous year.

This may be the ultimate example of a celebrity becoming the “face” of a brand, because she’s certainly not talking it up much—unless her tuneful yell actually meant something in the ’80s. The truth is, Grace Jones looks so out of place driving a Citroën CX, the only way to make the commercial even remotely plausible was to go all-out banana splits-crazy. And so, we have a giant mechanical Grace Jones sandwich, filled with screaming Grace Joneses... and a Citroën CX.

The advert was directed by Jean-Paul Goude, who also did Grace Jones’ music videos at the time (footage from the ad was used in the Slave To The Rhythm video). The idea of Jones being in the advert was probably a no-brainer, seeing she and Goude were an item at the time. The concept is pretty simple and totally normal and realistic: Grace Jones is seen driving the CX after a giant replica of her head spits it out. That’s precious!

The car was available in the United States in the the 1960s but disappeared from the market due to a 1974 safety ban by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The car landed overseas, and in the mid-80s, Citroën partnered with Grace Jones and her beau. The company sought to jumpstart their sales and promote their latest model, the CX GTI, in an avant garde campaign. And no one does avant garde (read: metal eyelids) quite like Jones.

For some reason it was banned in “various countries around the world”.

A quick snack before lunch.

It's a little known fact that hordes of little Grace Jones helped to design and build the series II CX; they were also the test drivers but their parking left a little to be desired; they'd always Pull Up To The Bumper of the car in front too quickly...

“Careful where you put that engine, don't drop it - too late...”


The imagery of Jones from the advert was also used for her 1989 album Bulletproof Heart. This was Jones’ last studio album for 19 years, until she released Hurricane in 2008.



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