100 YEARS OF AUTO ADS;FOOTNOTES

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NOT-SO-SMOOTH MOVE: Ford Motor Co. was threatened by a picket from the National Institute of Diaper Services, which charged its outdoor boards showing a naked baby and the tagline "Smooth as a '47 Ford" was offensive. Said the group's secretary: "A baby without its diaper is completely untypical of America...Babies who crawl around without their diaper are breaking all the rules, and Ford Motor Co. should not encourage any such horrible example."

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Kaiser-Frazer Corp. was sued by a shareholder in 1950 when the winner in its car-naming contest was Henry J. That was Mr. Kaiser's name, of course. Mrs. Cordelia Maxwell Bell said in her suit the company squandered the $200,000 for the contest and asked that Mr. Kaiser "be permanently restrained from using the corporation as a vehicle for personal publicity."

DOES INSURANCE COME WITH IT? A year later, Kaiser-Frazer linked with Sears, Roebuck & Co. to introduce the Allstate car (a version of the Henry J). Sears had tried to market the Motor Buggy, in 1912, but it was discontinued. So was the Allstate, in 1953.

Mercury and agency Kenyon & Eckhardt in 1958 pulled advertising from radio stations that played the hit "Beep Beep Song," claiming the ditty wasn't a suitable environment for car advertising. Funny thing is, the song lampooned Cadillac, not Mercury, with the lines: "While riding in my Cadillac/What to my surprise/A little Nash Rambler was following me/About one-third my size./Now we're doing 120/As fast as I could go/The Rambler pulled alongside of me/As if I were going slow./The fellow rolled down his window/And yelled for me to hear/"Hey buddy, how can I get this car/Out of second gear?" For you collectors, the tune was on the Roulette label and performed by the Playmates Trio.

In 1962, Ford and J. Walter Thompson Co. came up with a great replacement for its TV series about a busybody domestic named "Hazel." The eight-week summer sub was "The Lively Ones," based on characters in Ford's TV campaign of the same name. The show starred singer Vic Damone.

Source: Advertising Age

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