American Automobile Advertising, 1930-1980: An Illustrated by Heon Stevenson

By Heon Stevenson

This booklet presents a complete background of yank motor vehicle advertisements over a half-century span, starting with the entrenchment of the "Big Three" automakers through the melancholy and concluding with the gas crises of the Nineteen Seventies and early Nineteen Eighties. The good illustrated textual content follows a thematic instead of a strictly chronological constitution, tracing the valuable components in American motor vehicle ads. Advances normally ads layouts and pix are mentioned partially One, including the ways that vehicle styling, mechanical advancements, and comfort beneficial properties have been portrayed and highlighted in car ads through the years. half explores the advertisements topics that have been involved much less with the attributes of the autos themselves than with shaping the best way shoppers might understand and determine with them. half 3 addresses advertisements orientated towards the sensible points of car possession, concluding with an account of the improvement of imported vehicles into the USA after global warfare II. Illustrations contain greater than 250 motor vehicle ads, nearly all of that have now not been visible in print because their unique e-book.

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With the demise of the tail fin (which disappeared entirely from Cadillacs in 1965), luxury cars increasingly resembled medium-priced automobiles while fullsize low and medium-priced models grew larger and more luxurious. Indeed, earlier price and size categories were no longer reliable indicators of status. Compact and subcompacts took the lower ground while Chevrolet Impalas and Ford Galaxies infiltrated the medium-priced arena, almost by default. In the early 1960s, increasing convergence was apparent between advertisements for different luxury cars, as Lincoln developed a stable image and Cadillac shed the formalized settings and social scenes of the 1950s.

It was a lesson that would not readily be forgotten. A few cars of the early postwar period appealed to the public while also retaining a substantial element of “European” functionalism. One of these was the 1947 Studebaker, introduced in the spring of 1946. ” ran the introductory slogan. ” continued the copy in July 1946. The full-width styling of the Commander Regal De Luxe 5-Passenger Coupe was simple and clean, and was illustrated with an “actual color photograph” to dispel any doubts that might have lingered if paintings had been used.

A year later, the message was the same, albeit with plenty of new features in the car itself. Chevrolet’s second major change of the decade came in 1958, when a decision by all manufacturers to de-emphasize performance in advertising resulted in greater stress being placed on effortless cruising and comfort. The steep hills and fast freeways of 1957 gave way to flat country roads, and admiring neighbors replaced envious fighter pilots. Many illustrations showed only the car itself, perhaps with a few admirers scattered about, in preference to a complete tableau.

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