Friday, February 8, 2008

'63 Corvette Magazine

INSTANT CELEBRITY. Copy by Bruce McCall and art direction by Roy Jackson. We had a new team for Corvette ads. David E. Davis Jr. had gone off to Car and Driver magazine and I felt that I should spend my time on the Chevrolet advertising that was a much larger part of the budget, like our newspaper campaign. At the time we were doing five full page newspaper ads each month along with magazine ads for the other three cars Impala, Chevy II, and Corvair. Bruce Mc Call was a great new addition to our group. He had been editor of the largest automotive buff book in Canada and was a fine writer although he had not written ads before. Roy Jackson was a very good art director who was in the group when I took over. Roy and Bruce did the following two Corvette ads as well as this one. This is a terrific picture of the new split window Corvette. Probably the best we had shown so far. I have forgotten who shot the photo. I never insisted that our art directors use a particular supplier. I know i would have been offended if a boss of mine told me who to use. So Roy used someone he liked and i was pleased with the result and the result is what counts. This ad appeared in Sports Illustrated on May 19 and New Yorker on May 14.

7 comments:

Dave Pool said...

With 20/20 hindsight, it's interesting to see what age group this car's driver falls in. Also, here it is May of '63, men had started giving up the wearing of hats LONG before the appearance of JFK at his inaugural (and dropping the associated stodginess)...yet here is this guy wearing a hat! While he was driving! Get this man a Chrysler!

Jim said...

No. No. You looked only at the hat the guy is wearing. He also has on slick grey gloves and is obviously the kind of individual mentioned in the copy. -The car you drive reflects who you are in the world. Imparts an aura of individuality.- Would you have the guy look ordinary? He couldn't care less if no other man in the world wore a hat--he's driving a new Corvette.Yes he may be a little older, but not much, and he is successful enough to belong to a club with a doorman to help him from his car. And, he would never be seen in a Chrysler! ( Maybe one with a Hemi.) You probable never met David E. Davis Jr. but he was the most unconventional dresser I have ever known. He still is and he drives the most exciting and unconventional stuff you can imagine. David is getting along in years like I am but you can still get a look at him and what he does by going to "WINDING ROAD" for a FREE subscription to his magazine.

Dave Pool said...

I know of DED and have for years. Read him in C&D, read him in Automobile, now read him in Winding Road. I'm just saying that this ad is definitely a case of "that was then and this is now." No matter what kind of an individual Chevy might have thought would buy/drive a Corvette in '63, it's funny (in hindsight) to see that image and compare it to the demo for the car today. I'm not sure what today's equivalent of a man of the '50s/'60s with hat and gloves would be...but I suspect he's not in a new Corvette.

Jim said...

Dave, Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on the ads. When I started this thing a couple weeks ago I hoped I might get a few thoughts from people interested in old Chevy ads. My son Jim suggested I take some of my stuff to Florida and let him help me start a blog. I did and he did. It's fun but even more fun to hear from someone like you. Now to the ad. Back then the Sting Ray was brand new and a real leap forward for America's only true sports car. As important as that was Corvette was not given a big budget for advertising. This ad ran in Sports Illustrated and New Yorker just like most color ads of former years. That has to tell you something about how much we all knew about what Corvette would eventually become. People that read New Yorker were not much like the ones that read the buff books and those that read Sports Illustrated were probably somewhere between the two. I had always felt the emphasis should have been on performance but there were those that still saw it more in terms of a fun luxury car. Sports cars of all kinds had yet to gain the understanding and popularity that they enjoy today. So we had ads like this and if you look at some of the earlier ads you will se we used a bald guy in many of them. I guess we didn't think young guys of that time could afford to buy one even if they had the inclination. The older ads were pretty much in keeping with this ad. There were people at Chevrolet that wanted to go racing and do the things Corvette is doing today but they were in the minority. Still the Sting Ray was a big turning point in the development of Corvette and put it on the road to what it has become today. You are right about it being "that was then and this is now" Corvette today is America's best, real, no kidding, sports car and it shouldn't be presented like we did back then. Back then, there was a lot of worry about what Ford was doing with Thunderbird. Imagine that!

Dave Pool said...

It's a real joy to be able to chat with someone who was responsible for so much great car advertising. Full disclosure #1: I've been in (or on the fringes) of advertising my entire adult life, but for a few years in employee communication and training. Full disclosure #2: At 54, my "formative years" as far as shaping any passion for cars was the early to mid-60s. But by the time I was about 15, I was swimming upstream against popular culture, not so much smitten by American muscle cars but, rather, enamored of European style and road manners. That all said, the single most important factor in shaping my early impression of the Corvette was not (with all due respect) the ads. No, it was a TV program -- Route 66. In the years 1960-64 (and later in reruns) that was what fixed my impression of the Corvette as a young man's car...seeking adventure more than status.

Jim said...

I hope you had as much fun in advertising as I did. Looking back there isn't much I would change. I made plenty of mistakes and blunders but then as I said to my four sons, when they were smaller and sometimes listened to me, the only people that never make mistakes are the people that never do anything. They tell me that making ads isn't much fun anymore. That's too bad if so. There is a special feeling that comes from starting with a blank sheet of paper and turning it into something that pleases you and hopefully solves a problem. Lots of creative guys I knew were very upset when something they did was rejected. I was a little disappointed when it happened to me but I always felt the real joy was creating the thing in the first place. And, when your creation was rejected you had a chance to do something even better.
I guess when you were younger you weren't reading New Yorker. I didn't read it but liked some of the cartoons in it. Getting the Corvette to star in a TV series was really something. I sure had nothing to do with that and I have no idea who did. As you said it probably had more to do with the success of Corvette than the ads. Still the car, it's promotion, and what it represented in America at the time must have been a consideration for those who decided it could make a TV series.
What are you driving now? I have a Suburban for our main car, an old pick up, an '89 Cavalier Z-28 convertible, and three old Corvettes. Thanks for stopping by and come back any time. I am only getting started with this thing.

Dave Pool said...

What am I driving now? Well, I think I might have posted in another comment that in my formative pre-teen and teen years (roughly '63 to '71) I really wasn't all that taken by American Muscle (all straight-ahead speed, no brakes and couldn't corner for sh*t) and was much more taken by the size and efficiency of foreign. My first car was a '71 Beetle, then a '75 Honda Civic...and from that point on, I've owned (or shared with my wife) something like 22 vehicles, 9 of which were American. All of the imports were great. But 3 of the 9 American cars were trouble for us. About 4 years ago, we bought one of the early cars of the second-generation Prius (we were living in FL at the time and rather than put our names on the waiting lists that Toyota dealers had, I called around until I found the model we wanted at a dealer in WV and had it trucked to us). We wanted to support Toyota's courage in bringing that technology to the market by "voting with out wallet." It's been a flawless car and we're part of that Consumer Reports figure of 99% of Prius owners who would buy another. Summer before last, I came across a terrific deal on a 2001 Honda Insight that had only 29K on it. So that's been my get-around and that car I may hang on to for a long time. Our third vehicle is a brand new Honda Ridgeline. Want to hear something interesting? My wife is from a family that produced 3 generations of Buick employees (she, of the third, worked in Customer Relations for 11 years and left in 1990). She's part of the marketplace that the Big 3 lost. She'll give the domestics a fair look...but she favors Toyota/Honda. My late father (WWII vet) swore off most American cars by the end of the '70s...had a Honda Accord and then "went back" to own a Ford Contour (his purchase just about doubled the U.S. sales for that car), a European size and design that he liked, though few others did.