By on July 6, 2013
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Period advertising can be entertaining. The ads are often graphically interesting and it’s also kind of educational to read the copy. At the least they are historical artifacts, a window into the commercial mind of a different era. For the long Fourth of July holiday weekend we posted a piece on the Liberty Motor Car Company, including the above ad. It was published sometime between 1916 and 1923, when Liberty went out of business. While reading the ad copy, I came across the following phrase:

“How about safety, in these days of women drivers and crowded traffic? Did you ever see an emergency brake applied with a touch of one finger that will stop a car without shock at full speed – surely – smoothly – safely. Try the Liberty emergency – and try it where life might depend on its action.

At first my reaction was “women drivers”? (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2013

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When was the last time you saw a major car company do something silly in a commercial? No, not like that Lincoln ad made from Tweets curated by Jimmy Fallon, I mean something deliberately silly. There may be more recent ones but  Isuzu’s “Joe Isuzu” ad campaign is the most recent one that I can think of and that was so long ago that when young people see Joe’s I-Mark ads on YouTube they must ask, “Isuzu sold cars? I thought they just sold trucks ” (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2013

TransmissionManOutIt wasn’t that many decades ago that imported cars— any imported cars— were considered fairly exotic. I’ve dredged up memories of some very funny 1980 Aamco ads that deal with that subject, and the internet has obliged by providing those very ads for us! (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2013

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Once, while I was reading prewar classic car restoration expert David Greenlees’ fine site The Old Motor, there was an article about a custom 1925 Rolls Royce Phantom with round doors, a museum piece. The article mentioned how the body was the second one fitted to that chassis as the first, a custom Hooper body, was apparently rejected by the lady who ordered it, “Mrs. Hugh Dillman of Detroit, MI.”.  The name rang a bell so I looked it up on a search engine and every result on the first page said the same thing, that the Rolls had been ordered by Mrs. Dillman but for some reason she didn’t like it and never took delivery. Other than “Mrs. Hugh Dillman of Detroit, MI.”, pretty much repeated verbatim, there wasn’t much info on Mrs. D. Digging deeper I found out why her name was familiar. Hugh Dillman was Anna Dodge’s second husband. Her first hubby was Horace Dodge, who along with his brother John founded the Dodge Brothers car company. All these automotive sites were talking about Mrs. Hugh Dillman without realizing that they were missing an important fact about the lady, perhaps of more interest to car enthusiasts than the fact that she refused delivery of a custom car.

(Read More…)

By on May 8, 2013
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Product placement in movies and television can be tricky. It gets hard for the viewer to suspend disbelief and get into a movie or television show when every character pulls up in a brand new model offered by a single manufacturer. I’m looking at you, producers of the 60 minute Chevrolet commercial that runs every Monday on CBS Hawaii Five- O.  I’m a cop who works a lot of overtime. The newest vehicle in my family’s personal fleet is seven years old. No new cars will be gracing my driveway any time soon.

It’s especially hard to pull off if you’re talking about a high- end product like a luxury automobile. Audi appears to be pushing the envelope this summer, with supporting roles for the Audi R8 in the new Iron Man 3 already being advertised. Judging from this commercial that appears to have first hit the web on May 6, it looks like we’ll be looking for the Audi rings to be prominently displayed on 23rd century land speeders in the new Star Trek: Into Darkness movie as well. Still, it’s a funny and well done commercial that’s definitely worth a couple minutes of your time.

Hit the jump for the video that explains exactly what the hell Original Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is singing about if your knowledge of geek trivia is wanting…

(Read More…)

By on April 22, 2013

We’re told that the “pony car” era started when the 1964 1/2 Mustang was introduced at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. Actually, the Plymouth Barracuda beat the Mustang to the market by 16 days, but the Mustang made a huge impression, which is why they’re called pony cars and not fish cars. Ford has already started with their 50th anniversary celebrations, and of course you’ll be able to buy your choice of merchandise with the golden anniversary logo, which uses a version of the font used for the Mustang’s 5.0 liter engine logo. By April 17th of next year you may be sick of hearing about Lee Iacocca’s pride and joy, but in the meantime, please enjoy 49 years of Mustang advertising.

(Read More…)

By on April 18, 2013

The Nike Swoosh. The McDonalds Golden Arches. The Chevy Bowtie.

When you see them, you know them. Decades and billions of dollars are dedicated to make a ride on the freeway or, a walk in a park, a frequent subliminal reminder of how worthy a given brand is of your time.

Firestone is just beginning to invest in the icon you see here. What do you think?

(Read More…)

By on April 18, 2013

I do a lot of traveling (to such exotic places as Kershaw, South Carolina and South Haven, Michigan) in my travels with the 24 Hours of LeMons, which means I have plenty of dead time in airports to contemplate puzzling car ads. The Economist is the best possible magazine to have on hand when you get hit by a six-hour weather delay at George Bush International, because of its incredible bang-for-buck density. It’s clear that marketing flacks take the Economist‘s word for it when they talk about readership demographics, because the split between self-proclaimed readership (powerful and influential globe-trotting executives) and actual readership (geeked-out history/politics junkies with unkempt beards and Dead Kennedys T-shirts) makes for some entertaining car advertisements. Here’s one for the ’13 Lincoln MKZ, which attempts to woo the 72-year-old owner of a 6-store dry-cleaning chain into feeling that the purchase of an MKZ will transform him into a focus-group-perfect 42-year-old entrepreneur. Let’s take a closer look at what Lincoln’s marketers picture as the idealized MKZ buyer. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2013

GM will resume advertising on Facebook, nearly a year after it ceased running ads on the social network.

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By on March 27, 2013

Ad Age is reporting that Ford’s advertising agency, JWT, has fired the ad agency staffers behind a pair of offensive ads showing bound and gagged women in the back of a Ford Figo hatchback. Ford is not, however, looking to change advertising companies over the fiasco. The images were created by JWT staffers in India and then uploaded to the ad agency’s website. Such ads are often created without client approval as a way for ad designers to bolster their portfolios and were never intended to become part of Ford’s official campaign to promote the Figo.

(Read More…)

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