Saturday, March 1, 2008

'66 Chevrolet Impala Newspaper Ad

SEE THE USA THE SHHHHHEVROLET WAY.  This looks more like a magazine ad than a newspaper ad but it did run in selected newspapers on special paper stock as a two page spread. I didn't art direct the picture and I don't remember who did but I picked it up and used it here for this special ad that was to kind of tie in with a TV spectacular as I recall. Bill Graefen saved an ordinary picture with a really fine Shhhhevrolet line that tied into the ongoing "Chevrolet Way" theme you can see farther down in the blog.                                  This ad reminds me of the conflict between the TV group and the print group. I was in the print group and had been since I joined the agency. TV was very important and growing more important every day. Ken Jones had become the first agency creative director responsible for print and broadcast. He had been at the agency a long time and had been responsible for some great and memorable TV commercials. The job he had now was to bring print and broadcast together. But looking back at where he came from gives a picture of what a difficult situation he faced.  Before, the television operation was so separate from print that they were in a different building. Print was in the GM Building and broadcast was in the building behind the GM building. They had a complete studio set up with a sound stage, lights, and cameras. They could put on a TV show if need be. Print guys could only look and marvel at all the stuff. Next to the studio area were the offices of all the writers and producers and there were lots of them. A guy named Peck Pryor and Ken Jones ran the thing and they reported to Phil McHugh. I never met McHugh and I don't think I met Peck Pryor. I was in charge of the print group and there was no reason for me to be involved with them or so it was at the time. Ken Jones always said he had been brought in to Campbell-Ewald to do great commercials and he did quite a few. The thing that bothered those of us in print was that TV almost never had anything to do with what we were doing in print. And, there was no way any of us were ever going to get a chance to do TV. All of us knew television was where the future of advertising was going to be and we wanted to try our hand at it. We spent loads of time listening to what our Chevrolet clients wanted done and it was hard to understand why the broadcast guys never did any of it. They did very imaginative things like taking a Chevrolet on a drive on a canal in Venice. Yes, Venice as in Italy, and you would swear the car was actually driving on water. And at the time we were telling our print audience what a great buy a Chevy was and showing how it and Chevrolet related to America. How much better the television might have been if the car had been driving on American water. Maybe on the Mississippi or maybe the Erie Canal. We could have all been speaking with one voice. We lost a bunch of good people because they couldn't try out for television. I remember when a guy named Amil Gargano quit and went to New York . He didn't work for me but was one of the best art directors we had. He was on what we called the general accounts. That was everything but Chevrolet. He did pretty well and got his name on the door of his own agency. It was a difficult time at the agency and when Ken Jones took over as creative director we all thought we were finally going to get our chance. Ken even moved some of the broadcast writers over to the GM building but not a whole lot changed because none of us really knew how to write commercials and were kept more than a little busy doing all the print. None of the broadcast writers made a contribution to print or to any concepts that were needed. They just didn't think about marketing and selling the way we did. Ken had ideas he wanted implemented in print and that is where a couple of our themes came from. "The Chevrolet Way" and "That Sure Feeling" were his thematic ideas. I think "That Sure Felling" probably came from a Corvette commercial he did back in the late '50s that was called "That Chevy Feeling" which may have been a better line. Anyhow, the situation didn't get fixed but I stayed and continued to make some good ads if only for print. Didn't mean to get sidetracked like this but the ad above, that may have been meant to tie into some television, got me to thinking about some of the problems back then.

1 comment:

Dave Pool said...

>> "I remember when a guy named Amil Gargano quit and went to New York . He didn't work for me but was one of the best art directors we had. He was on what we called the general accounts. That was everything but Chevrolet. He did pretty well and got his name on the door of his own agency." <<

He was one of the founders of Carl Ally, Inc. which later became Ally & Gargano. When was in Boston from '80 to '87, the work of A&G was very hot (especially that for Federal Express...not sure when they had the Volvo account, but Volvo left them and A&G secured the Saab account) and Ad Age named them Agency of the Year in 1982. Gargano left A&G in 1991.