The pioneer automakers turned quickly to advertising as a means of basic survival. They needed to sell their new vehicles quickly to raise money for making new cars. For its part, the fledging ad business sought new categories, and here was a dandy. Thus was forged a great partnership in American industry and marketing.
After the early years of stiff, straightforward black & white executions, agencies began to work image, style and color into auto ads. This, along with slogans ("Ask the man who owns one"), began to shape distinctive brand personalities.
The industry survived depression and world wars and, by the '50s, was a more powerful force than ever. And advertising has been perhaps the consummate generator propelling the American dream machine. What a great ride it has been.
For the love of cars: Advertising understands and reflects America's attraction to the auto: The grandeur of Pierce-Arrow in the '20s, the glamor of the '30s, the fin flamboyance of the '50s, sizzle of the '60s and today's sensibilities.;First ad: This Duryea Bros. notice in `Horseless Age' began a 100-year link among automakers and advertising.
;1923 masterpiece: `Somewhere west of Laramie" heralded the Jordan Playboy.;Postwar gamble: Preston Tucker's `completely new car' in 1948 never got out of first gear. Fifty were built.;Puttin' on the ritz: 1920s art deco style is reflected in this Marmon ad, which shows speed, but no car.;Making do: Buick had to welcome troops back from WW II in '45 with a flashy '42
model because of shortages.;Wartime promises: This Ford ad tells Americans;Times change: American Motors positioned Rambler in '64 as a
non-gas guzzler. By '93, Japan's Toyota was playing up its American-made parts.