Category Archives: Auto Advertising

Indiana Auto Advertising in the 1960’s

Studebaker was the pinnacle of Indiana auto advertising for the 1960’s.

1963 Avanti
1963 Avanti

Studebaker President Sherwood H. Egbert proclaimed in the 1962 Avanti initial offering brochure, “The advanced styling and engineering of the Avanti are intended to please individuals desiring an automobile of great distinction.” Brochure taglines announced, “The Avanti is elegance, and Avanti means advance.” Nine photos with corresponding descriptive paragraphs describe instrumentation, comfort and interior beauty features, large doors, and panoramic vision. Six additional photos with copy present safety items, performance and engineering enhancements. One front three-quarter view is of the coupe in a setting outside a stylish party at a western home. Another is a side view of a sharply dressed woman with pearls and a fur elegantly lounging on a gold Avanti. This brochure probably represented the state-of-the-art for the time with its presentation.

1964 Studebakers
1964 Studebakers

Studebaker’s 1964 full-line brochure is restrained by its 3 7/8″ x 6 3/8″ size. The brochure uses a mix of color illustrations and photographs to display its seven models. One showed three Lark Challenger and Commander models in a snow scene. The copy read, “Family cars built to Studebaker’s high quality standards, yet priced with budgets in mind!” Photo pages show, the Grand Turismo Hawk and the Avanti. Additional illustrations show interior choices, convenience, safety, and construction items. The back cover denotes Studebaker’s Great 28 Extra-Value Features like, body-on-frame construction, seven proven engines, fully padded safety instrument panel, and dual brake system. The inside front cover closed with, “Drive a beautiful 1964 Studebaker. Experience the many ways they are ‘Different…by Design’ to give more comfort, economy and true car value for your new car dollar!”

This last quotation may best reflect automotive advertising of the early 1960’s. Manufacturer print advertising competed for the customer with distinctive styling and emphasizing comfort, economy, and car value for the dollar.

Looking back over six decades of automotive advertising for Indiana-built automobiles demonstrates the evolution of print advertising and brochures across America. Early advertisements used illustrations and claims for ease of use to entice buyers. The use of color and lifestyle advertisements ushered in a new era in the mid-teens. Lifestyle illustrations with lavish scenes and liberal use of color became the norm in the late 1920’s. In the 1930’s, ads were more reserved with tangible sales points tied into product features. Postwar advertising reflected the seller’s market for automobiles. Automotive advertising became more opulent and lifestyle oriented in the 1950’s. In the early 1960’s, manufacturer ads continued to stress their points of differentiation.

These materials are part of the sales process in creating attention, interest, and desire in the prospective customer’s mind. Some early auto advertisements made some outlandish claims. With the evolution of automotive advertising, we saw these types of claims muted somewhat over the years. Auto advertising over the years was a good barometer of the health of the economy and marketplace.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

Auto advertising in the 1950’s

In the 1950’s, intense competition from the Big Three pressured independents. Therefore, independents emphasized their points of differentiation like styling from others. Automotive advertising became more opulent and lifestyle oriented.

1950 Studebaker

The October 1949 ad in Holiday for the 1950 “bullet-nose” Studebaker proclaimed, “Presenting the ‘new look’ in cars.” “Success breeds success! The car that led in modern design now moves still more spectacularly out ahead!” Other specifications mention improvements like higher compression power and self-stabilizing coil springs. The color photo showed a couple motoring in their Commander Regal De Luxe Starlight coupe along the riverside with a cityscape in the background.

Raymond Loewy with 1953 Studebaker

Studebaker’s May 1953 ad in Country Gentleman continued the theme of the previous six years-that of styling innovation. The couple in a Commander Starliner hard-top coupe motors through a park-like setting in the color photo. The tagline shouted, “New and different! Exciting 1953 Studebaker!” Supporting copy commands, “See it and try it! America’s most talked about new car! Hard-top convertible shown above is less than five feet high! Only in a Studebaker do you get this long and low new styling — and it’s yours to enjoy at a down to earth price.” The ad stresses points of differentiation with long and low styling and pricing.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe

Following the lead of independent’s ads, Chevrolet’s 1956 ad in National Geographic touts “Nothing without wings climbs like a ’56 Chevrolet. Aim this new Chevrolet up a steep grade – and you’ll see why it’s the Pikes Peak record holder.” This was the second year for the new Chevrolet V8 engine. The copy further claims “In the merest fraction of a second you sense that big bore V8 lengthening out its stride. And up you go with a silken rush of power that makes a mountain seem as flat as a roadmap. The car that proved its fired-up performance, cat-sure cornering ability and nailed-down stability on the rugged, twisting Pikes Peak road. And all these qualities mean more driving safety and pleasure for you.” The color illustration showed a sporty driver hunkered down in his Bel Air Sport Sedan climbing the road to Pikes Peak.

These postwar advertisements reflect the seller’s market for automobiles. Performance would go on to trump opulence and lifestyle as the Big Three market leaders began to dominate the market.

For more information on our automotive heritage, follow this link.

What Everybody Ought to Know about Auto Advertising in the 1940’s

In the 1930’s, advertising was restrained, but the upper end of the market saw the premier of lifestyle advertising. Studebaker’s advertising reflected what was occurring across the industry in the prewar 1940’s. We see a continuation of black and white photos with sidebars. The use of color is restrained.

1940 Studebaker Champion ad
1940 Studebaker Champion ad
Copyright © 1940 Studebaker Champion Corp

Studebaker’s April 1940 National Geographic ad promoted, “This spring Rediscover America in a Studebaker.” The sidebar read, “Overseas travel is out of the question this spring of 1940 of course. So why not decide to see your own America at its loveliest? Enjoy the fascinating spectacle of Nature awakening from her winter slumber. Get started now before the highways are thronged.” The photograph showed a Studebaker Commander Cruising Sedan at Bright Angel Lodge, Grand Canyon.

Studebaker’s October 1941 National Geographic ad portrayed its building of war material. It uses two illustrations: one of the B-17 flying fortress and the other of the US6 2 1/2-ton, 6×6 truck. The main photograph that takes up about half a page is of a President Eight sedan arriving at a military ball. The copy read, “And thanks to the resourcefulness and research of Studebaker’s engineering and production staffs, materials critical to national defense have been released for that purpose — without any impairment of Studebaker’s traditional standards of quality.”

1943 Studebaker Cyclone Engines ad
1943 Studebaker Cyclone Engines ad
Copyright © 1943 Studebaker Champion Corp

Studebaker’s wartime advertisements are typical of the era in promoting its production of various items. In its April 1943 National Geographic ad, Studebaker mentions that it’s America’s oldest manufacturer of highway transportation. The last copy line read, “Today, as for generations past, Studebaker craftsmen make their watchword — ‘give more than you promise.’ Every Studebaker employee is justly proud of the achievements of his organization in the arming of our Nation and its Allies.” An August 1943 ad heralds, “Studebaker’s big military trucks stand out in all the major war zones.”

Postwar automobile advertising broke out of the doldrums caused by wartime production restraints. The time was a seller’s market where manufacturers sold every car and truck they could make.

1947 Studebaker Champion ad
1947 Studebaker Champion ad
Copyright © 1947 Studebaker Champion Corp

Studebaker’s 1947 advertisements used color photographs to announce, “Studebaker — First by far with a postwar car.” One ad showed a 4-door Champion Regal De Luxe sedan in a southwestern town setting with a group looking at the new offering. Some of the copy promoted, “So many heads turn to look, your first trips around town, you know for certain you were smart to wait and get this Studebaker’s real postwar styling.” An additional twist on lifestyle advertising is the smaller photo of a father and son Studebaker work team with copy that talked about their pride of craftsmanship.

1948 Studebaker Commander ad
1948 Studebaker Commander ad
Copyright © 1948 Studebaker Champion Corp

Studebaker’s 1948 Esquire ad extended the postwar lifestyle further. A rich color photo shows a couple proudly posed in the grass in front of their Commander Regal De Luxe convertible. The tagline read, “Dream car for a heavenly honeymoon!” The copy elaborates, “This honeymoon actually is a threesome, believe it or not. Look close and you see a welcome ‘third’ on the trip. It’s that thrill-packed new Studebaker convertible.”

1949 Crosley ad
1949 Crosley ad
Copyright © 1949 Crosley Corp

Crosley advertised its restyled models in 1949. A January 1949 tagline read, “Crosley — Announces Big New Models! — Hundreds of Improvements.” Black and white drawings of the DeLuxe Sedan and Station Wagon are used. Small type mentions, “speed line styling.” Bold type delineates engine specifications like improved compression ratio and greater economy, and closed with, “So drive a Crosley — the new style leader that saves you money by the mile!”

Auto advertising of this time reflected what is going across the industry in wartime 1940’s and then demonstrates the optimism of the post-war era.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Early Auto Advertising in the 1930’s

In the 1920’s, advertising became more lifestyle oriented with the use of lavish scenes like yachting, beaches, and gardening. In the early 1930’s, we saw a reversion to black and white printing with photos and sidebars. Tangible sales points were tied into product features.

Marmon Sixteen ad
Marmon Sixteen ad

An upscale Marmon Sixteen ad from 1931 is very trendy for the time. The Art Deco black and white illustration of the Sixteen is set off against a silver background. The minimalist copy touted, “The Marmon Sixteen is the modern automobile. Its beauty of line and appointment is the beauty of the simplicity and efficiency of today.” “Both in action and appearance the Marmon Sixteen redefines the motor car in terms of the present.” It included brief equipment specifications and pricing.

1932 Studebaker ad
1932 Studebaker ad

In the mid 1930’s, Studebaker produced The Wheel magazines for the auto show seasons. On the cover of the 1932 edition, we see a chic woman wearing furs showing a President convertible roadster to an older woman seated in a Studebaker electric. Inside the magazine there are eight pages of color illustrations interspersed with 12 pages of copy and black and white photographs of the “Triumphant New Studebakers.”

1933 Stutz brochure
1933 Stutz brochure

Stutz produced a 32 page brochure for its SV-16 and DV-32 models in 1933. The brochure had 11 full-page black and white photographs of its classy machines opposite descriptive copy of the SV-16 and DV-32 models. The copy advertises value, economy, and advanced design, along with two and half pages of new features. The brochure is very optimistic for a company facing the challenges of the middle depression.

He drives a Duesenberg ad
He drives a Duesenberg ad

Duesenberg introduced its lifestyle advertisements during the mid-1930’s. One ad emphasized an almost full-page illustration of a gentleman on his yacht braced against a storm with the minimum tagline, “He drives a Duesenberg.” Another showed a women talking to her master gardener with five other gardeners working in the background on a palatial garden. The Duesenberg in question is inferred, it is not shown anywhere. These are probably the epitome of automotive lifestyle advertising.

Most auto advertising of this era is more restrained, but in the upper end of the market we see the premier of lifestyle advertising.

For more information on Indiana cars & companies follow this link.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Early Auto Advertising in the 1920’s

In the 1920’s advertising became more lifestyle oriented with the use of lavish scenes like yachting, beaches, and gardening.

1923 Marmon
1923 Marmon

An interesting twist on the lifestyle advertisement is the June 1923 Marmon endorsement by Helen Keller. The ad featured a painting by Countess Elizabeth Zichy of Miss Keller in the back seat of a Marmon driving through the Catskills. The tagline read, “I knew we were in the Catskills by the atmosphere.” In four paragraphs of copy, she goes on to extol the virtues of this “wonderful automobile.” Marmon stated, “To her its chief appeal is super-comfort and ease of riding. Like other Marmon owners, she also seeks dependability and economy.”

1927 Studebaker
1927 Studebaker

A 1927 Vanity Fair ad for Studebaker proclaimed, “The President, first choice of America’s first executives. A ‘Cargo of Value’ comes sailing home in The President, a Studebaker Big Six Sedan for seven, and America’s first car to combine custom charm and performance with common sense economy.” In the foreground is an excellent illustration of a Custom Sedan. The background might be best described as depicting the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. two-thirds of the copy covered the allure of The President, and the other one-third on equipment and model specifications.

1929 Cord
1929 Cord

A 1929 ad for the Cord comes closer to a pure “lifestyle” advertisement. It showed two women in a L-29 cabriolet in an equestrian setting with the tagline, “The Cord car creates a place for itself no other car has occupied.” Then it lists pricing for its four models. Clean and to the point.

1929 Duesenberg
1929 Duesenberg

The May 1929 House & Garden ad for Duesenberg is elegant with its illustration, typography, and embellishments. The copy read, “The same motive which actuates the creation of any masterpiece, prompts the building of this, the world’s finest motor car: unswerving devotion to one ideal…to produce the best, forgetful of cost, or expediency or and any other consideration. A Duesenberg definitely excels every other automobile in the world, in every way.”

Auto advertising of this era portrays folks enjoying the good life through their automotive choices. This was the time when the luxury makes rose to their zenith.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.