How 'bout Cadillac's, "Penalty of Leadership" in 1914? That one ad catapulted Cadillac into the front ranks of American luxury cars. Too bad they seemed to have forgotten it long ago at Cadillac.
Rolls-Royce had a good one, in early 20s I think. Picture of Henry Royce, quoted, "Strive for perfection in everything. Take the best and make it better. When it does not exist, design it. Accept nothing nearly right of good enough". He was plugging Rolls-Royces built in Springfield, MA, so I suppose this is sort of an American ad.
What no comment on Volvo's "Drive it like you hate it", which was both print and TV? I recall absolutely blasting past a pickup picking its way slowly past the many potholes on a 1-2 mile dirt road. That was my '73 Volvo 145 and well, there was a refrigerator in the back. Drive fast enough and your wheels don't drop into the potholes. Definitely a smoother ride.
Great article. I loved the AMC Gremlin ad. My uncle, a priest in northern Minnesota, had a 1974 purple Gremlin with Levi denim seats. My grandma, a very proper old lady, felt that the seats were too flashy for a man of the cloth, and cut off the little red Levi tags from the seats. It was a great little car indeed...
I drove a red, 1972 Gremlin X 304 that I got to use delivering Mexican food, and pizza, while at college. Also drove a 1973 Grand Ville 455, and a '74 454 GMC Camper Special. Got those orders out, real fast.
The stacked Volvo ad probably belongs in here somewhere. As for the Duesenberg, right campaign, but wrong ad. The guy sitting by the ginormous fireplace surrounded by organ pipes was the one that sold me on the car.
You're correct in that the Duesenberg ad you mentioned was more impressive, but I think the author was emphasizing the fact that the company ran female-oriented ads in women's magazines--one of the first companies to do so picturing powerful (and rich) women on a par with powerful (and rich) men--the only ones that could afford Duesenbergs at the height of the Depression.
In 1932 my folks bought a beautiful 3 bedroom brick house--with a basement--in a Birmingham suburb for $3200; a bare Duesenberg chassis at the time cost over $10k--and then you had to buy a body for it.
I'll never forget that famously PC-incorrect ad from Chevrolet that said "You've never seen an ugly girl in a Corvette." There would be a smoking hole in the ground where GM used to be if they ran that nowadays...
I'm glad to see two American Motors ads; the ad featuring the purple Gremlin always has been a favorite of mine. A better Pacer ad would have been the great drawing of a yellow Pacer winding down a twisting mountain road proclaiming: "You only ride like a Pacer if you're wide like a Pacer." This ad is very similar to the spectacular Pontiac ads from the late '50s and early '60s penned and created by Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman. These Pontiac ads definitely should have been included. They truly are classics.
My dad made a point of taping that Ferrari ad to the garage wall. It looked down on a nice hot-rod roadster my dad built in college and hung onto for the rest of his life. It started as a 31 Ford but was essentially scratch-built into the style of the grand European roadsters of the 30s. It was also an early example of a Hemi swap, with the 1954 version of a "crate" Fire Dome.
Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but I'd have to nominate the whole run of early (1968-on) BMW ads for the 1600 and then the 2002--that went on to coin the "Ultimate Driving Machine" tag that BMW's used ever since. Prior to the 1600-2 two-door BMW was selling fewer than 3000 cars/year in the US, and hardly anyone not deeply into cars or motorcycles associated BMW with anything other than the Isetta. Those early BMW ads were what introduced Americans to the BMW image that we know today, and the US market was what turned BMW from a small specialty manufacturer to the worldwide company it is today.
My wife had a new Firebird when we married, 1969. Bought it herself as she was a hard working girl. I bought(traded her Firebird) for a new GREMLIN for Christmas in 1971. Big red bow on top--gift wrapped you could say. I just knew she would love it. But. Low and behold that must have been the premise of our downfall during the next year and then came: 1973 And D-I-V-O-R-C-E I stuck to my Fords and never looked at another AMC after that.
Some worthy examples, though the Edsel, Packard, AMC Pacer and Corvette ads don't grab me like several others I would have put in the list. The psychedelic Plymouth musclecar ads from '68-'69 should figure in any list of striking and cool print ads.
Excellent! And a little sad, at the same time. The first cowgirl/Jordan Playboy ad in 1923 was fantastic and I realized what the hell has happened to creativity during the last 100 years. It seemed to die out around the early 80's, no risks, and copy written by corporate committees with their timid souls. Across all facets of our country. Oh well, there are advantages of getting older.
“After we shared a story about great automotive print ads—written by our friends in the U.K. from their European perspective—we heard, uh, loud and clear from you readers that we should compile our own story that centered on car ads that ran prominently in America.”
Silly Hagerty. Don’t you know it doesn’t matter what the article is about, or how well you explain it— you should always write about whatever the person reading owns/wants/admires? Whether it fits the premise or not.
There's a tiger loose on the streets was fabulous . My personal fav was the porch 911 ad driving by school with boy looking out the window and seeing one for the first time. Later at the porch dealer he asked salesman for a business card as he would come back years later .