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TV Car Advertisements From the 1950s and 1960's

Updated on July 6, 2012
1965 Corvair ad
1965 Corvair ad

The art of advertising when selling cars remains much the same since the car first arrived, and has stayed that way through the 1950s. Watching TV commercials of the now "classic" cars is interesting. Up until the mid 1960's, advertisers always told the viewer and showed the car coupled with beautiful women. The beautiful women were always dressed up and accented the beautiful new car as they showed off its features and body lines ( the car, that is). The ads would tell you what it would mean to own such a car in prestige, its power, and most ads were targeting successful, 30-ish or more, men. Women were an accessory. Some ads might allude to why the car is practical, usually station wagons or trucks, and it was rare to see the gas mileage rating or safety features.

By the 1960's, advertisers continued the same approach, but the Ford Mustang in 1964 changed how cars were advertised because it was targeting young adults and it was a sport car of sorts. It was the dawn of the muscle car period. For $2300, one could own it. Women were also shown now more as active drivers and enjoying the power and speed, not just men liked them. The 1965 Chevy Corvair ad was the first to use sex openly to draw your attention to the women in the swimsuit with long legs and the convertible car with a middle aged man glancing at the young woman. As the 60's grew to a close, nearly all the car ads were targeting young, college age adults because they were the "In" generation or the "now" generation. They were hip, cool, and being over 35 yrs, was not a good thing. The ads always emphasized engine horsepower, speed, such as the  Pontiac GTO, the Dodge Charger. Women were frequently shown of being drawn to a sexy car to match their sexual identity, sometimes comedy was used.

Unlike today's car ads, where the MPG rating is a selling point, it was not considered worth mentioning. Some things remain the same, and in selling cars, sex appeal remains.


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