Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This is a layout for a 1959 Chevrolet newspaper ad. It was most likely done by a studio artist in Detroit or San Francisco. Jim Hastings who was the head art director at Campbell- Ewald at the time could have done it but he was much too busy to have spent the time required to render a comp layout. This was typical of many of the ads that were shown to Chevrolet for newspaper production. Back then most ads started from a copywriters headline idea and were then passed on to the art department for development and visualization. The art director would make a rough layout and if it met with the approval of the head of copy and art along with the head of the account group (often the Chairman, a man named Ted Little) the ad would be shown to the Chevrolet Advertising Committee. The committee usually consisted of the General Sales Manager and his assistants, the Advertising Manager and his assistants or about seven or eight people. Later on Chevrolet got a Marketing Manager to add to the approval process. Looking back at the rather complex approval system it is a wonder the ads made it to the publications. This particular ad may have started with an art director or even an artist because the visual idea is so strong it seems to suggest the headline. No reason the art director or artist couldn't have written the headline too. Below you will see other comp layouts of a different nature as photography began to take the place of illustration.


Tris Mast said...

My all-time favorite car - and a clever headline/image combination. I suppose this never made it past the comp stage.

chrislezotte said...

Jim, wonderful blog. I am an old car ad person myself; I used to work on Buick at McCann. I also worked with your son John when he was in my creative group at Doner. Glad to hear he is doing well. I am no longer in advertising, but am in graduate school, working on a PhD in American Culture Studies at BGSU. My area of concentration is women and cars. I recently had a paper accepted into an academic journal, and I would like to include a couple of old Chevy ads. I don't have great reproductions of them, but was wondering if you did. If could contact me thru email, I'll send you copies of what I am looking for. If you don't have the ads, perhaps you can direct me to someone who does.
Thank you and keep posting this wonderful history.

Tony said...

This is one of my favorite blogs. I love reading the stories behind the ads, they are great. I seem to remember seeing an ad for the 56 Chevy as a Fire Chief's car, I think I saw it in a National Geographic. Do you recall anything like that? If so, can you relate the story?