Tag Archives: He drives a Duesenberg

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.

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