1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue: A Throwback to Its Strange Ad Campaign

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When you’re shopping for a new car, how much do ads influence your decision? Depending on the model and the target audience, car ads can be stylish, sexy, funny, or just plain cool.
Of course, you should keep in mind that the quality and performance of the actual car you’re buying is more important than a flashy ad.
Jerry takes a look at the 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue, an interesting model with a memorable ad campaign.
Close-up view of the Oldsmobile logo on the bonnet of a black classic car.
The Oldsmobile Intrigue had great reviews and a futuristic ad campaign.

The 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue

A 1999 review from Autoweek, published soon after the Intrigue’s release, gives plenty of insight into the car. The review noted that the Intrigue was intended to compete with import sedans and target a younger audience (hence a marketing tie-in with The X-Files).
The car had a stylish design that was a departure from previous Oldsmobile models. It was equipped with a powerful engine that allowed for satisfying acceleration. The Intrigue performed well in road tests against similar offerings like the Camry and Accord.
The review includes comments from other sources. Individual owners appreciated the car’s styling and handling, with one owner calling it the “best car I’ve ever owned.”
Road & Track said the Intrigue was “the first mainstream sedan from General Motors that is plainly better than its competition from Japan.”

An ‘intriguing’ ad campaign

Autoweek remembers the 1998 Intrigue’s interesting ad campaign. The ad copy is clearly intended to sell the car as stylish and sophisticated, noting its “catlike eyes,” “muscular lines,” and “sleek interior design.”
While the Intrigue was competing with import sedans, its makers were hoping to siphon off some buyers of luxury models from Audi and Lexus.
Another notable feature of the ad campaign is that it included a website URL, at a time when just over a quarter of Americans had access to the internet.
Perhaps the web tie-in was supposed to indicate exclusivity and a modern flair, setting the Intrigue apart from the competition. Conversely, maybe General Motors was ahead of its time and saw the future of online marketing.

Look past the ads when buying a car

While the marketing around the 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue was certainly eye-catching, most reviewers seemed more focused on the car itself and its performance.
When you’re making car-buying decisions, remember that an ad is only part of the picture. It’s important to research any car you’re considering by looking up reviews, asking around on car forums, and checking the model’s specifications to make sure it will serve your needs.
You should also look into the cost of car insurance for any vehicle you’re interested in. When you do find the perfect car, Jerry can help you make sure you have the right insurance coverage. The Jerry app helps you compare rates from 50 top companies to get you the best price for the best coverage.

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