Wednesday, February 27, 2008
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I have seen this ad in lots of books and magazine stories about performance cars and I always get a kick out of seeing it again. It is one of a series of spreads made for the popular magazines of the day. I'll find the others and include them here when I get back to Michigan. Bill Graefen wrote a great piece of copy to go with my picture idea. We had such a nice working relationship. When I had a good visual idea for an ad he would get excited and bring forth beautiful words if I had none.
NEW CHEVELLE SS 396 : A TURBO-JET V8 SURROUNDED BY EVERYTHING YOU COULD ASK FOR. This is a very straight forward presentation of a great Chevy. A good look at a good looking car and what you get when you buy one. We would show you the sizzle in later ads once you understood what made it sizzle. Bill Graefen's copy and I did the rest. These cars are worth a ton today in good condition. I am so pleased to see so many being restored and still driven. I don't think any of us, at the time, realized what a real American prize this car would become.
'66 CHEVROLET JET-SMOOTHER IMPALA. Now! Come drive the year's hush hush new car. Jet-Smooth had been around for a long time and continued to be a theme for Chevrolet Impala. A straight ahead headline but on track with what we had been doing. The illustration was on track with previous illustrations we had been using but this kind of picture had pretty much run its course. You are not likely to see many more Chevy illustrations with the car on the American road like this. Too bad because we had developed a string of very talented artists to do this kind of stuff. Two things were happening--first, photography was becoming more important in newspaper advertising and second, ad content was changing from the story telling illustrations to more specific product advantages. You can see below in the " Chevrolet Way " series what was happening. Too bad, as this style had helped to take Chevrolet a long way toward being recognized as America's car. Wish I could remember the name of the artist.
COME ON IN IF YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU. This ad series had it's origin in a meeting with the Chevrolet ad committee. Other advertising had been shown and for whatever reason the meeting had not gone particularly well. I think Bob Lund may have been the Chevrolet Sales Manager at the time. Bob was concerned about sales and talked about the need to do something special to help the dealer group. Somehow the subject of dividends came up and dividend days was discussed. Nobody was very excited about it. At these meetings the junior account guys were responsible for making sure all the clients had their brand of cigarettes, mints, and chewing gum in front of them. Bob happened to favor Wrigley's Double Mint gum and he suddenly jumped to his feet with a pack in his hand and shouted "I've got it! DOUBLE Dividend Days!" Thanks a lot Mr. Wrigley. Here we go again--what are we going to do with this? Well, you go back to work and say to yourself there are no bad assignments only bad solutions. Something I have found to be profoundly true over the years when making ads. Sure, you would rather be working on a national magazine ad or TV commercial but the assignment at the moment was Double dividend Days. I don't remember winning any awards for stuff like this but I don't hesitate to say I did it and it worked very well. Bill Graefen wrote the copy.
IF YOU WEREN'T STILL SITTING HERE READING....YOU COULD BE OUT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE GREAT BUYS AT YOUR CHEVROLET DEALER'S. And a nice little bit of copy that told about what you could get if you hurried on down to your dealer's. The illustration of the SS-396 is pretty small but this was not an ad about it. This was an ad about the sale. I think Gerry Edmison probably did the layout and I am not sure about the copy. Very nice execution for an ad of this kind and very visible in the papers.
SHHH....DON'T TELL YOUR CHEVROLET DEALER IT ISN'T AUGUST. A fine idea for a sale ad by Bill Graefen and I kind of like my layout too. Back then all car dealers had year end sales in August because September was traditionally new car announcement month. And announcements were really something. People had been trained over many years to expect all car makers to have some kind of big program when the new cars came to market. Dealers did their part by using special window trim and maybe free hot dogs and a big balloon suspended above their place. So just before the event, in August, they tried to get rid of last years cars with some kind of sale. This event took place in the Spring of 1966. So the thought of your dealer thinking it was August worked very well. The car is really small for a full page ad but you couldn't miss it when it ran. Getting attention for the event was the object.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
FOR THE GUY WHO'D RATHER DRIVE THAN FLY : CHEVELLE SS 396. And at the bottom--POTENT THE CHEVROLET WAY. We had a new creative director for the agency when we did this campaign in newspapers. His name was Kensinger Jones but everybody called him Ken. He had been running the Campbell-Ewald broadcast group where they did all the TV commercials for all our clients. TV had become very important to Chevrolet and our other clients so Ken was a logical choice for the job. The idea for THE CHEVROLET WAY campaign was his and we put it together for for him. It was strange back then. None of us doing print ever got a shot at doing a TV spot and for the most part the stuff that ran on television had nothing to do with what we were doing in newspapers and magazines. That's not to say the TV was no good. It was very good and the production values were outstanding. It just didn't have much to do with the rest of the advertising. A couple years earlier, I remember going to the big annual meeting at the Whittier Hotel in Detroit where we showed the new advertising for the new cars to be introduced in the fall. We print guys had art studio comps on full page newspaper ads made half again as large as a real paper. Probably 20 or so ads and maybe the same number for magazines. Outdoor too. The meetings lasted for two days and nearly all the time was spent discussing the print stuff. We even had an art director and art studio standing by to make new ads or change existing ones. I know that for sure because I was the art director standing by one year. The thing that amazed me was our TV guys would come in with some commercials rendered by a blind guy, play some music, and leave with a bunch of sold stuff. At the end we would leave with nothing sold. Our chairman, Ted Little, would thank the assembled group for their council and tell them we would be back soon. Nothing like it is today. A little depressing then but I was pleased to have been at the meeting. Ken Jones didn't solve the problem we had between print and broadcast and it wasn't solved for a long time. It seems so simple and logical now that everyone should be involved in everything to the extent of their ability. The best TV commercial ever done for Chevrolet ( in my opinion ) was done by a print guy named Jim Hartzell. We called the spot--Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet.
PUT YOUR FINGER OVER THE FIRST TWO LETTERS OF ITS NAME.--CAPRICE--(Now you know one of the nicest things this luxury car has going for it.) What a great observation and idea by Bill Graefen. Bill was our copy supervisor on Chevrolet print advertising at the time but did a lot of the copy himself. He was most cooperative when I had the idea first and always wrote a good piece of copy for me. I liked his thinking and tried to do the layouts for his copy. It was a very nice association and we became good friends. I hope he might see this and give me a call. Later on he left us to become the creative director on Toyota in LA. Sure hated to see him go. The big copy under the car says ELEGANCE THE CHEVROLET WAY. The point was made over and over about what Chevrolet was selling--more car for the money. Years before this advertising, the thought was expressed as--for economical transportation. Both still true today.
THIS LUXURIOUS CHEVROLET MAKES SOME PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE. ( People who sell high-priced luxury cars ) And then farther down on the page--ELEGANCE THE CHEVROLET WAY. Only a small picture of the car but a very large look at the new roof line with the convertible like covering. The lady looks pretty good too. Then a good look at all the stuff you could get on a Chevy that you thought you would find on something that cost twice as much, like a Caddy. Our Chevrolet clients were delighted when some Chevrolets began to take on the characteristics of the more expensive GM cars. Communications like this made them very happy. These ads were very visible in the newspapers of the day and continued to be an important part of selling Chevrolets. TV had become very important too. Bill Graefen probably did the copy. Gerry Edmison probably did the layout. Wish I could remember more.
LOAFER . And then down on the page PERFORMANCE THE CHEVROLET WAY. And performance it was with 325 HP available. Nothing wrong with showing the engine up big as the main illustration and the cars smaller. The engine was THE news. Back then that much HP was really something and to be able to get it it a Chevy was something too. I still like the way the old ads look with the use of line art. Nobody does it today probably because there are no artists around to do it. Too bad.
Monday, February 25, 2008
ERASE BUMPS. And at the bottom JET- SMOOTHER THE CHEVROLET WAY. Jet-Smooth had been a theme for the big Chevy ride for some time and continued to be the subject of ads. I made the layout for this one and I wrote or maybe drew the headline. When art directors still used pencil and paper to make ad layouts we all had big erasers called Pink Pearls. I thought it made a great headline-- erase bumps-- and actually erase the word bumps. In addition, I went to the local art supply store and bought a really big red eraser and carved it into the shape of the Chevrolet bow tie logo. On it I lettered erase bumps. The idea was to send one to each Chevy dealer when the ad ran or if feasible to produce them in quantity and have the Chevrolet dealers give them away. They were, after all, a Chevrolet logo that carried an important message. The ad ran but for whatever reason the eraser idea didn't go. I still have the carved Pink Pearl eraser. Bill Graefen wrote the rest of the copy for me.
YOU TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE AND WHAT HAPPENS? MORE PEOPLE BUY YOUR CARS. And at the bottom--ONE STOP SHOPPING THE CHEVROLET WAY. Very straight ahead presentation of all the Chevrolet products. The cars are beautifully rendered but we didn't get the little something extra in the ad that helped Chevrolet continue to be America's car. One Stop Shopping is a theme that ran through much of Chevrolet advertising back then. Another contribution by our Chairman, Ted Little. It was true, that you could stop in at your Chevy dealers and see everything from a sports car to a luxury car. Chevrolet was becoming a little General Motors within GM. Our Chevrolet clients loved the way the styling guys were getting the Caprice to take on some of the characteristics of Cadillac. The Chevy selling proposition had always been more car for the money and now it included a real selection when you went to your dealer.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
WE'VE DONE FOR THE ECONOMY CAR WHAT CINDERELLA'S FRIEND DID FOR THE PUMPKIN. Chevy II-Styled the Chevrolet Way was the sign off line. For One of Chevrolet's lower pricer offerings the Chevy II really was a kind of breakthrough. Interiors had not been a big Chevrolet strength. An interesting thing about the Chevy II name. Ted Little, Chairman of Campbell-Ewald and known to those at my level as "Big Daddy", was the one who named the car. I remember being called to his office one afternoon along with others. There he had a large round tablecloth with a whole bunch of pencil writing on one part of it. He was all smiles as he announced that we could stop worrying about the name for the new Chevrolet that was soon to be introduced. He held up the big white tablecloth for us all to see the large penciled word Chevy II. He had been at lunch at the Recess Club, that was on the top floor of the Fisher Building on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, with the top guys of Chevrolet and had sold them on the name of the car. He was so pleased with the event that he took the tablecloth with him as a trophy. That would have been OK with the Recess Club as Mr. Little had the same big table reserved every day. I wonder what ever happened to that tablecloth?
Saturday, February 23, 2008
THE CHEVROLET "CONVERTIBLE" THAT DOESN'T CONVERT. This is an ad with the art direction by Roy Jackson. I wish I had the Life magazine spread version to show you. it was really something. The young lady is really something too. Roy was very good at getting the best out of photographers for this kind of ad. I don't remember, for sure, who he used. Maybe Dennis Gripentrog or Guy Morrison or Mickey Mc Guire. I sure wish I knew. If you are still out there Roy, please let me know. This was another ad in the Chevrolet Way campaign. I don't remember who wrote the copy but if I can make a connection with some of the people who were there at the time I'll come back and fill in the information. A pretty nifty way to demonstrate the new convertible look of the Caprice hardtop. The original headline for this was--The top on this Chevrolet " convertible" doesn't go down. After our account group and the client saw the picture they requested a new headline.
THE DAY SHE FLEW THE COUPE Roy Jackson, the art director on this ad, could always be counted upon to get very sexy looking women in his ads. This particular ad copy required it and Roy came through. You need to see this ad in color, the way it ran, to get the best feeling for the girl eating a peach. The ad would have been better if the Corvette had been shown from the rear to make sure you knew she was driving a coupe. Then too we had a pretty good size problem because the car had the wrong hood for the 425-hp engine the copy mentioned. A rear view probably would have taken care of that. I don't know how we managed to screw up but we did. There are many departments at the agency and at Chevrolet that look at ads before they get sent off for publication. The ad ran in the March 5, 1966 issue of New Yorker.
SOME PURISTS SNICKERED IN 1953 WHEN CHEVROLET BROUGHT OUT A FIBER GLASS SPORTS CAR WITH AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. THEY'VE BEEN STRANGELY SILENT LATELY. Another good ad by the team of Bruce Mc Call and Roy Jackson. The car is not pretty with all that water on it but still looks good and says the right thing in terms of performance. I don't remember if Roy shot this ad in California but if he did and he used the Corvette Coupe from our fleet in LA, that's the car I bought in late 1966. I wonder. This ad was in the February, 1966 issue of Car and Driver, Sports Car, and Sports Car Graphic.
JUST STARTING IT MAKES YOUR STOMACH MUSCLES TIGHTEN. I think it makes even more than that tighten. When I get behind the wheel of mine it takes me back to my youth or whatever that was in 1966. I still remember the first ride I had in a 427 roadster. It was at the Mesa, GM Proving Grounds. David E. Davis Jr. and I were there to look for locations for an upcoming photography shoot and David knew some of the guys that had charge of the prototype cars. This would have been in 1965 before the new Corvette went on the market. They agreed to let us take an "experimental" ride around the track which was one great big oval with other roads in the center. David has always known how to drive and drive fast. He said " come on Bernardin lets go" And go we did. It wasn't just going fast around the oval ( flat out in a 427 Corvette is exciting) it was when he said something like "lets get off this freeway and see what this thing can really do". We did and I didn't know a Corvette could do things like that. We came to a stop at some intersection out there after doing a 180 with the tires smoking. It was kind of like what you see on TV today when race drivers win and celebrate by spinning their car and making a lot of smoke. Nobody said anything about it. I guess they knew David from his magazine days. Best and most memorable ride I have ever had in a Corvette. Thanks for the memory David E.
FLIGHT 427, NOW DEPARTING THROUGH GATES 1, 2, 3, AND 4. A really nice way to think about how it is to drive a Corvette with a four speed and a 427. I can tell you, it is true. I am pretty sure Bruce McCall was still writing these and Roy Jackson was the art director. The gear shift is done using the line art we had developed over the tears. My guess is that it may have been picked up from a newspaper ad to save a little Chevrolet money. The line leading into the logo says--Corvette Performance The Chevrolet Way-- and tied in with the other ads in the campaign. This ad appeared in Road & Track and Sports Car Graphic for April 1966 and Sports Car for May 1966.
I have been driving Chevrolets most of my life and two of the best and most fun are shown here. Both are '66s but one I owned back then and one I own and drive now. Sure wish I still had the silver coupe shown here with our number four son Bob. But, I sold it to Don Gould, who was a terrific art director and friend. Don did some of the very good Camaro ads you will see later on. I packed all four of our boys in the space behind the seats and they loved to hear me go through the gears. It was a 327 four speed that I bought from the fleet of Chevrolets we kept in LA for ads and TV spots. At the end of the year they were for sale at a good price and didn't have many miles on them. I paid a guy $50 bucks to drive it back to Detroit. Now I really understood the excitement of taking delivery on your first Corvette! I still have the VIN number and I tried to find it a few years ago but with no luck. The other Corvette that was for sale in our fleet was a 427 roadster just like the one I have now. Somebody had already taken it by the time I thought I could afford to buy one. My wife, Ruth, got me the 427 you see here for my birthday about 30 or 40 years ago. The fellow who owned it had blown the engine and installed a 327. I drove it with the 327 for a few years and then had an absolutely perfect 427 built-up for it. The block we found was even cast before my Corvette was assembled. Only new carpeting was added. I also drive it with radial tires rather than the gold striped bias belted ones it came with. When I drive around town it never fail to turn heads. I know all this has nothing to do with the ads you came here to see but Corvetts have been a big part of my life as well as Chevrolet and I still love 'em both.
Friday, February 22, 2008
The title says it all. This was the first ad in the campaign. There is a story behind this series of ads that is worth telling. If I had had my way this would have been a different campaign. I had prepared a bunch of ads and took them to review with our ad committee. Ted Little, our Chairman, sat as the head guy and he was accompanied by Colin Campbell, the man who was in charge of the Chevy account, Jack Thornhill his chief assistant, and a couple other account guys. My two bosses, Pete Booth and Jim Hastings, were there too. They had seen the stuff I had and thought it was fine. The meeting was always held in "Big Daddy's" conference room which was on the small side so that the presenter (me) was on one side of a long table and the tribunal--I mean the other guys were on the other side. We never called the Chairman anything but Mr. Little to his face and I have often wondered if he knew about us calling him "Big Daddy". Anyhow I showed all the ads and explained why we had done them and what result Chevrolet might expect from them. Some of the account guys made comments and the meeting moved right along but with not much comment from the head guy. When I had finished there was what seemed to me like a very long silence while everybody waited to hear what the boss would say. He finally cleared his throat and said "I thought I was going to see some retail advertising." ( Pause while he gets up from his seat and heads for his office)" Here I am Chairman of the Board and I still can't get the damn advertising the way I want it!" And with that he left. It was pretty quiet in the room as others began to leave and I started to gather up my ads. Boy, I had just been blown out of the water by the chief. I retreated to Pete Booth's office along with Jim Hastings. What do I do now I asked? How are we supposed to do retail ads when there is nothing retail about what we can say? After some thought they agreed that I should try some ads with big type. Big type? Are you kidding? No, just try some. So I limped back to my office and asked Bill Graefen, our head copy guy, to come to my office. I explained what had happened and that I wasn't sure what we should do. Lets take a little time to think about it. We were way behind our schedule now that we had to start over. I began to think about big type. There is really nothing wrong with big type. It just depends upon what you do with it. Now then, if we use a leadership theme, maybe we can make the ads seem more retail like. The first ad I tried was the second in this series--the one with the really big No.1 in it. That's where the idea for big type being part of the picture came from. Then I tried the See The USA theme with four cars and big type. Bill Graefen got the idea of what I was suggesting and began to come up with one or two word headline thoughts. I think Bill wrote perhaps all the copy for the campaign and made it all as retail oriented as possible by orienting it to the Chevy dealers. We got it through Mr. Little and the Chevrolet clients loved it. I guess that's why he was "Big Daddy".
SUCCESS HASN'T GONE TO IT'S PRICE. What a nice way to take some of the sting out of such a big claim on leadership. Chevrolet liked to talk about being No.1 but there are perhaps better ways to do it than this and some of those can be seen farther down in the blog. Impala was No.1 and there was no question about that. The car looks good and the lady with her little dog give us a human touch. When I sat down to do this ad I was trying to prove that there was nothing wrong with big type and I knew No.1 would be a crowd pleaser. Type is simply another design element in any ad. Some art directors handle it well and others don't understand it at all. The big type in this series of ads is used as part of the illustration as well as an important part of the communication. All things considered---especially the comments by Mr. Little, our Chairman, this campaign turned out OK.
UP TO 180HP STRONG--CORVAIR CORSA--BY CHEVROLET. Lots more emphasis on the great new performance you would find in Corvair with the Summer Punch thought. The dog in the back seat is a good touch. Nearly everybody likes dogs and they add to that little slice of life feeling in Chevy ads. It has always been important for people to like the ads as well as to respond to them. The dealers run ads with prices in them and the factory tries to make you feel good about what Chevy products have to offer so that when you are looking for a new car you will think of going to a Chevy dealer.
It's important to remember that this campaign was about as close to retail advertising as we could get back then. There were no rebates and actual prices were almost never used because the factory didn't want to interfere with what the dealers were doing. In some areas a Chevy dealers toughest competitor was the nearest other Chevy dealer. So we tried to say and do things in these ads that would support the dealer body. Come on in and size up a new Chevelle! The door on the car is open as a kind of invitation to come in and see your Chevy dealer.
ONLY ONE was followed by the several lead-in lines you can almost see ---- Only one made in America with--and then an explanation of all the great stuff on every Corvair. The young lady just won a trophy playing tennis and she drives a trophy winning car. Just the kind of little extra Chevrolet ads have had for years and you couldn't miss these ads when they ran in almost every paper in America. The color helps too.
AFTER READING THIS ---DRIVE THIS---Then below the car--YOU'LL KNOW WHY CHEVELLE IS AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR INTERMEDIATE-SIZE CAR. What a nifty way to get the copy read. And it allowed us to have a little change of pace with the big type at the bottom with the car. The door is open like an invitation to get in and try one at your Chevy dealer's place. Bill Graefen was really getting a feeling for this campaign and I thought it was going better than I had imagined for a so called retail campaign.
CORVAIR BY CHEVROLET. IT'S STYLISH, SPORTY, AND AVAILABLE WITH UP TO 180 FRISKY HORSEPOWER. SEE BELOW WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT'S UNIQUE ENGINEERING AND HANDLING. THEN SEE YOUR DEALER AND SEE WHAT A WONDERFUL BUY YOU CAN GET RIGHT NOW. The copy below lived up to the promise of more information and quotes. Bill Graefen's copy again. I thought the lighted firecrackers as part of the word added considerably to the thought as well as being a good and memorable device for the ad. Not the warmth we usually got in the ads but a neat thing anyway.
CHEVELLE--AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR INTERMEDIATE--SIZE CAR WITH AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR 6-CYLINDER ENGINE. The line at the bottom of the page reads---Red Hot and Rolling! and then lists the all the cars except Corvette. The line was meant to support the dealers. The whole campaign was to support the dealers. The guy with the letter sweater getting a kiss from his girl friend plays to the HERO part of the picture and gives us that little bit of Chevy warmth we try for on all our ads. I think this may be the only ad in the series I didn't do. Gerry Edmison was probably the art director and I think Bill Grarfen wrote the copy. The car looks very good but I have no idea who the artist was.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This is as good as it gets in outdoor advertising. Simple,memorable, and to the point. All dealers have a clearance as the new models become available and a dealer could put on quite an event built around this. I think this is the best board for Chevy dealers we ever produced. I don't know what has been done in the years since I left but if there is better work than this I say congratulations! With all the other communication methods available today, I'll bet they don't have the program. Back then, we produced a quarterly package for dealers that included outdoor boards and other materials they could use to promote their business. This poster was part of one of those packages and was created by a young lady in our Campbell-Ewald Sales Promotion Group whose name escapes me at the moment. I'll try to find it and post it. She worked for Tom Gaskin who was in charge of the group and did a lot of outstanding work himself. The boards that follow came from his group, for the most part.
Another way for a Chevy dealer to call attention to his dealership even if he wasn't having a sale or event of some kind. Dealers did a lot of advertising back then and do plenty today but in different ways. The internet wasn't even thought of then and newspapers, radio, and TV were used in about the same way as today. In many areas outdoor advertising has fallen on hard times because of local restrictions.
Come on in and we'll give you a great deal on a new Chevrolet. A dealer put his name on the board in the space at the bottom. He could use several boards like this one or even a combination of deal boards made available by Chevrolet. The effort here and in all the nearby boards was to do something that was different, eye catching, and memorable. A package of boards went out once every quarter as I recall.
There is hardly ever a time when a Chevy dealer didn't want to advertise deals. And remember this was before the era of rebates. Dealers got certain price considerations from the factory but they were handled in a different manner than today. A dealer could put several of these up in his area and have a promotion built around RARE DEALS if he chose to make the effort. The steak looks really good too.
For several years running we had a national sales event for Chevrolet that was simply named a Garage Sale. There was lots of Newspaper, Radio, and TV support and dealers were offered this outdoor board to tie into the event. This paper board reminds me that Tony Longo and Jim Hartzell came into my office one day with a model of the front of a family two car garage. It even had a real basket ball hoop above the door. Real wood shingles and lights . It looked like someone had sliced off the front couple of feet from a real garage. It was to be a permanent outdoor board where messages could change and cars could be shown with the door open. Tony and Jim had several examples that demonstrated it's flexibility. Carl Uren, Chevrolet's Ad Manager at the time, liked the idea and had us build one on a Detroit freeway as a test. It stayed up for quite a while but was determined to be too expensive to use all over America.
Dick Wingerson had the idea for a Garage Sale back around 1970. He sent me the following and I pass it on to you. " Garage Sale didn't sell on the first try. I remember writing a memo proposing it,saying times were tough and that saving money was now becoming smart and fashionable, too. Garage Sales were popping up all over the country and lots of folks still called a car dealer's service department, or the dealership itself, 'the Chevy garage'. It was a natural. Client response was: 'Yeah, but they're also called Lawn Sales and Yard Sales. Besides, everything at a Garage Sale is old and used. Plus, our dealers are independent businessmen and we can't force them to use the word 'sale'." Oh, yeah? It's end-of -model cleanup time. What dealer is selling at full sticker then? Not wanting a good idea to die, ( I learned bulldog tenacity from you) I proposed it again next year, slightly reworded. 'Chevrolet Garage Sale' with the subhead: 'Where every thing's a bargain. And every bargain is brand new.' SOLD! Jeb Schary, son of Hollywood's Dory Schary, produced the first Garage Sale TV spot. It featured a backyard garage, with a door that opened to reveal a Chevy showroom with lots of activity. Big success and as you mention, dealers loved the Garage Sale idea enough to use it for several years. So, here's to tenacity. Cheers! Wings "
Thanks for the background information on a strong Chevy campaign. I'll show some of the ads when I find them.
Used cars was a very important part of a Chevy Dealer's business and Chevrolet supported that effort with advertising about OK Used Cars in magazines and newspapers. Posters like this were made available to dealers. Most of the creative work on these was done in the agency sales promotion group. Pretty nice stuff.
When a Chevy Dealer put his name below a billboard like this he was telling everyone in the community that the place to go for original GM parts and service was his place. There was also ongoing advertising in other media to encourage people to get their car or truck serviced or repaired properly by going to their Chevy Dealer. The white space below the illustration is where the dealer put his name.
I wish I could remember who did these. They are really fun while doing a nice job for Chevy and Chevy dealers. Thoughts like this were supported with TV spots that showed Chevy Trucks performing great feats of strength and power. Even pulling a 747 Jet.
A nice take on the idea of a convertible. Especially if it is for a tough Chevy truck. Lots of Chevy dealers were in parts of the country where they sold trucks at about the same rate as cars. Back then trucks had yet to assume the total popularity they enjoy today. Chevy still makes great trucks. I have one with about 140,000 miles on it. It's a 1989 and still runs strong. I use it on our farm in Michigan now but when I bought it I used it to drive to the office every day.
Big type always works well for outdoor. Tough is what every truck wants to be and needs to be. It's hard to remember any kind of Chevy truck ad that didn't show tough one way or another. I think this was an early '70s truck but I am not sure
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
This was the Silver Anniversary Corvette billboard and an ad we made to see if there was anybody out there who might like to buy a very big poster. The line SEE WHAT'S NEW TODAY IN A CHEVROLET was the theme for the 1978 Chevrolet announcement program so all the other product boards had the line too. The poster cost only $11.50 each and was really big because it was a regular poster just like the ones that went up all over America. I got two and put one up in our son's bedroom. It covered two walls. The ad ran only in the December, 1977 issue of CAR AND DRIVER magazine. It was more than we expected. We had to go back on press twice to fulfill all the orders. I still have mine and I wonder if anybody else managed to hang on to one? I'll bet there are a few still around. I wonder what they are worth?
This is the first of what turned out to be a series of four Corvette posters sent to Chevrolet Dealers. One for each model year. I don't have the 1959 poster with me now but I'll include it soon. The car photo came from General Motors. A fellow named Myron Scott had a picture file of just about everything GM ever did and I went to his office to see if I could find something to use. I had been told by our account guy, Wally Overhardt, that there was no budget for new photography. This wasn't what I would have liked to have done but with the addition of some blue stripes and our new stencil lettering for Corvette I tried to make it a little like a racing poster. It's OK and if you happen to come across this one or any of the others you have a real Corvette treasure. When the Corvette Museum opened I sent these posters and a bunch of ads for their collection. I noted on the back of the posters that they were on loan and a couple of years ago I asked for them back. They had been on display there for several years and maybe that's were they belong but they were returned promptly. Thanks Corvette Museum.
CHECKPOINT FOR FUN. This picture was made at the same time that Warren Winstanley and I made the 5 Corvette picture for the cover of the 1960 direct mail brochure shown farther back in the blog. To make the other picture we had to be high up in order to get the five cars all in a row like they were charging the camera. We were on the big parking lot at the Detroit Metropolitan Beach and Warren had this very high platform constructed with some boards thrown across the top for a platform. It was frightening up there because it wobbled a lot. This was the kind of platform you see painters using but for them it is up close to a building. We had planned to make a checkpoint situation photo at another location after the five car shot so I had the fellow in our paste-up room make the check point sign, the number for the car, and other things we might use. When I saw the shadow the platform cast on the pavement I asked the guys on the ground to bring one of the two white Corvettes close to the platform and after moving it around a little I told Warren we would make our check point picture right here. What fun! The guy holding the check point sign is the one who made it and the fellow behind the wheel is Warren's assistant. I even got into the picture-sort of. The shadow you see of the guy with both hands in the air is me and that's Warren next to me. If you happen to have this poster, you have something very valuable. I have only one and it is framed along with the other three in a little office I keep in Boyne City, Michigan.
CORVETTE FOR '61 This in- dealership poster was shot at the General Motors Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. The Corvette was a prototype but had all the running gear to make it move. The new rear styling was what was important for the way it looked. We were at the proving grounds for security reasons. Actually the proving grounds are huge and there are plenty of places to make pictures that look like somewhere else. Just getting into the place took more time and effort than making a picture. You had to have one of our clients request that you be allowed on the grounds. Once the President of GM gave his approval--only kidding--somebody put your name on a list that found it's way to the Proving Ground entrance where you and your photographer had to wait until you proved you were you. After a while someone came to lead you to the area where you could take your picture. No looking around at other secret stuff that was going on. And once the camera is uncovered be sure to point it your Corvette and nothing else. Warren Winstanley shot the picture. I was still in the sales promotion group at Campbell-Ewald when we did this and so far as I know this was the last poster done for dealers for many years.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
THIS YEAR, ALL THE COUPES AND SEDANS HAVE HARDTOP STYLING--EVEN THE LOWEST PRICED ONES. Another fine Corvair ad that continued to play to the Chevrolet theme of more car for the money even while it is introducing new hardtop styling. Corvairs were great cars back then and continue to be great today. Just ask a Corvair owner. There are more beautiful examples still on the road than you may imagine. Enough people continue to own and drive Corvairs that they have formed clubs all over the country and even produce their own club magazine. Take that Ralph Nader!
CUBIC INCHES, THAT IS. WE'RE READY IF YOU ARE. Part of the headline in the photograph? Yes, and what a nifty way to get you from the picture to Bruce Mc Call's copy. A big new engine in Corvette is always news. Corvette sure has been making big news with it's engines lately. Makes a 396 look kind of small but back then it was something to think about and buy. I have a 1966 Corvette roadster with a 427 in it and when I drive it I am reminded of these days and how much fun it was. Roy Jackson was the art director. Read the copy-it's good. Not too long after Bruce did the copy for this and other Chevy ads he left us to write a great string of Mercedes-Benz ads. All our competitors read our ads and often made offers for our people that moved them. This ad ran in the June, 1965 issue of Car and Driver and Road and Track.
Each new Chevrolet got an outdoor board to go along with the announcement ads shown close by. The Chevrolet Impala got two, one showing a two door hardtop and the other a four door hardtop. I don't have examples of the others but they were similar to these. We used art for the outdoor ads and it was very very good. Kind of makes you wonder about using photography in the magazine ads. Sometimes I wonder why todays art directors don't try art for their automotive outdoor. We used it way into the 1970s and even early 1980s. Could it be that there are no artists around to do it this well? The little white spot on both boards isn't part of the art but a reflection from my camera--sorry about that.
BEAUTIFUL SHAPE FOR '65. That was the theme for the 1965 announcement and was the line leading into each of the large product names. Chevrolet was in beautiful shape . The cars all looked good and sales were pretty good too. Each car got a spread ( two pages ) to tell about what was new. The eight pages ran in all the major magazines and made quite a splash. The use of white space along with the very large product names was particularly effective. I'll post a couple examples of the outdoor boards that ran at the same time. They use the same big product names and heroic views of the cars. Looking back, I think the art for the outdoor is a little better than the photography in terms of product presentation. But photography was realistic and everyone was using it then. One interesting little thing is in the Chevy II ad. the fellow holding the twins is Larry Sheridan. Larry was an art director at Campbell-Ewald but not on the Chevy account and he looked right for the part. He also lived close by Warren Winstanley's studio on the East Side of the Detroit area. Warren shot all the illustrations at his studio. Even better, the little guy looking out from behind his Dad is my number two son Jim. I liked to use our boys whenever I could. It was fun for them and for me. When the ads ran they could brag about being in the magazines. Jim is all grown up now and is the one that suggested I get a blog like this started. He helps me when I do something dumb with it. He has a very nice resort here in the Florida Keys where we are now. A good place to stay if you are interested in this wonderful part of America. Look him up at www.pinesandpalms.com