I’ve been fighting “New Car Fever” for about a year now and people in the creative department aren’t helping my illness. Our Creative Director Dennis recently purchased an environmentally friendly hybrid, Donovan bought 3500 lbs of classic American muscle, and Cathy picked up a Euro-stylish scooter. And while my Toyota is great on gas and as reliable as clockwork, it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles and I miss the days of driving something with the power and room of an SUV or the fun of a Jeep Wrangler.
So I’m watching Mad Men (I promise this is going somewhere) and BMW ran a series of spots celebrating the cars of their past and future, including a retro ad for their 5-Series E28. And that got me to thinking… maybe it would be fun to take a look at some vintage auto ads to see how they have evolved through the years.
1957 Dodge – The 50’s were the era of the live commercial read and this is a perfect example: The Lawrence Welk 30 Day Selling Spree from Dodge. With features like total-contact brakes, torsion air ride, and push button torque flight, how could you resist?
Coming Soon: The 1964 Ford Mustang – Now you’d be lucky to pay five times the asking price for one of these… a whopping $2,368 in 1964. At that price, I’d even spring for the white wall tires (an additional $34). And while that swinging horn section in the background evoked images of Don Draper and Roger Sterling taking 5 martini lunches, it doesn’t sound like the “Born to be Wild,” image Mustang is now known for. But fast forward 4 years and the face of Mustang is forever linked to the manliest man who ever lived, Steve McQueen, chasing that Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco in his 1968 Mustang Fastback.
The Economy Experts: The 1974 AMC Gremlin – Enough with the tail fins and muscle. Let’s talk about a car that everyone could afford, the AMC Gremiln. Introduced on April Fool’s Day 1970, (how appropriate) the Gremiln was the American answer to Japanese and German compact imports. And the only thing worse than the design and the name (according to Webster, a gremlin is “a small gnome held to be responsible for malfunction of equipment.”) is that it was “the car with pants.”
Oh What a Feeling: The 1984 Toyota Tercel – This was actually my first car; a used Tercel hatchback that I bought for less than what I paid for my iPad. Good car. Bad commercial. But I was grinning like Woody Harrelson’s meat-head twin from this spot when I bought it. And if the high MPG and low sticker price weren’t enough for convince you, the special effects rainbow at :17 should do the trick.
You know, after looking at these spots, my fever might be a little worse than I thought.