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.

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