How has car advertisements evolved from 1900 till present day? Introduction

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How has car advertisements evolved from 1900 till present day? 

1. Introduction-

I have been interested in the evolution of everyday cars and motorsport cars which have changed drastically from the very first cars in 1900's. As cars have changed shape to make them more aerodynamic, I have been interested in the form of the shape of the car changing and the advertisements that change throughout the 1900's till now. Companies create their brand image and evolve, especially depending on the time in history and who they want to target, for example Ferrari would target a weather and people who enjoy the ride in the car, on a weekly basis. It is important for car companies to sell their brand image as is all about getting customers to buy into the lifestyle they are selling.

One of the areas that I like about the world of cars is the different styles and shapes cars are. There is a vast variety of cars from everyday hatchback designs to world record breaking sport cars. Many professional designers are brought into the car industry to keep modernising and making cars more efficient, which is important in today’s modern society. This is one of the things that the world of cars make me inspired as it is interesting to see the changes and developments these designers bring in the car industry. There are car companies that design cars for everyday work like going to point A to B and driving round, trying to get the best fuel efficiency. Other car manufacturers have another aspect on making sports car that is mostly for pleasure purposes, which lacks the day to day use and poor fuel efficiency, however a good, pleasurable drive.

Cars today are represented in different ways, for example cars have been designed for efficiency around streets. Different style of cars is used for different people. The Italian company ‘Fiat’ originally designed the Fiat 500 around the small streets of Italy which became popular in the UK. Most everyday car uses use this type of car, which have a market of both genders and mostly the cheapest small cars for students, who have just past their tests. However some cars are designed for ultimate speed, like the Bugatti Veyron which is the fastest legal road car (topping speeds of 200+), which will have a market for the rich. This is purposely for the people who want to go fast and for leisure purposes. These types of cars are normally stylish and have a stigma on them that only the rich can afford these. Sports cars are typically shown a male market, even to today, with the sense of showing off in a car. Finally cars are built for off-road and this changes the car designs completely and these cars are for a completely different and mostly for leisure. An example of a car maker is ‘Land rover’ and is normally aimed at the first class citizens.

Advertisements change depending on the different time scales, especially from the start of the car industry (early 1900’s to now).

Advertisements throughout history have changed from being dialogs, which mostly focused on text, however they have changed to being mostly imagery and graphics. I am hoping to find out more in detail about the different advertisements overtime and historical events impacting advertisements from the 1900’s to present day. I intend to find out how the role of promotions through different companies helps sell cars in different time periods. The advertisements have changed throughout history but have still had a dominant male market, which car manufactures have done to adapt to changes.

Advertisements have changed in the past due to past events like World war One and Two. Car advertisements have shown a patriotic way during the world wars, especially in World War 2, German car makers were patriotic to the Nazi party which encouraged people of Germany to buy a car from that make to show commitment to the certain country. Other advertisements showed tanks and engines to show portray to the main market ‘men’ that your car can be as menacing as a tank which shows the dominance of the male market and the dominance of the Americans in this example, and the advert will show pride and honour to the company and the designer, for his ideas, which they think is a good poster design.

Finally, it is not just poster advertisements that have made car companies recognisable it is the use of commercials and videos. People will be more into buying a car possibly through video in the modern era; however in the early 1900’s this was not used and very limited for years after, so there are different ideas and tactics to help make companies stand out from the others.

After the essay I plan to create my own poster designs by creating a poster design that was intended for a vintage poster or a new modernised poster design. I also intend to design parts of new cars and possibly look in the designing process of designing cars. To help me do this I will visit motor festivals of which have old, new and futuristic car designs, which will help me design advertisements.

2.0. Analysis 1

2.1. Analysis of Car Advertisement (think small)

To get an idea on why this advert has been produced, it is valuable that the artwork background is explained.

2.2. About this artwork

Think Small was an advertising campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, created by Helmut Krone with the copy written by Julian Koenig at the Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) agency in 1959. It was ranked as the best advertising campaign of the twentieth century by the Advertisement Age, in a survey of North American advertisements. The campaign has been considered so successful that it "did much more than boost sales and builds a lifetime of brand loyalty. The advertisement, and the work of the ad agency behind it, changed the very nature of advertising—from the way it's created to what you see as a consumer today." This suggests that the advertisement was a massive success for the company and was able to change the personality of the company, through this type of poster designs.

Fifteen years after World War II, the United States had become a world and consumer superpower; and cars began to be built for growing families with Baby Boomer children and "Americans obsessed with muscle cars". The Volkswagen Beetle has been described as a "compact, strange-looking automobile". The Beetle was manufactured in a plant built by the Nazis in Wolfsburg, Germany, which was perceived to make it more challenging to sell the vehicle. The Volkswagen Beetle was initially manufactured for the German/European car, to get round small European roads. Due to the success of this, it was sold to the American market to compete with rivals like Ford Motors. Automobile advertisements focused on providing as much information as possible to the reader instead of persuading the reader to purchase a car, and the advertisements were typically rooted more in fantasy than in reality, with the inadequate research about car safety and management.
Figure 1 – ‘Think Small’ advert

In addition, Julian Koenig, who started many famous advertising campaigns, teamed with Helmut Krone to create the "Think Small" and "Lemon" ads for Volkswagen under the supervision of William Bernbach. DDB built a print campaign that focused on the Beetle's form, which was smaller than most of the cars being sold at the time. This unique focus in an automobile advertisement brought wide attention to the Beetle. DDB had "simplicity in mind, contradicting the traditional association of automobiles with luxury". Print advertisements for the campaign were filled mostly with white space, with a small image of the Beetle shown, which was meant to emphasize its simplicity and minimalism, and the text and fine print that appeared at the bottom of the page listed the advantages of owning a small car.2

Figure 2 – Ford alternative

William Bernbach was an American advertising creative director. He was one of the three founders in 1949 of the international advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB). He directed many of the firm's breakthrough ad campaigns and had a lasting impact on the creative team structures now commonly used by ad agencies.3

It is suggested that the word ‘lemon’ is used to say the car is a sweet car to drive and that the ‘lemon’ is a unique selling point because of its randomness of the advertisement. The use of the words ‘think small’ and ‘lemon’ say that these were used to describe the appearance of the car.

However in reality the word ‘lemon’ was used as a costumer catch as it is unheard of being on a car advertisement. This was definite catching point for customers, even when relating and comparing to figure 2 where the advertisement remains formal, where Volkswagen has used something different.
Figure 3 – ‘Lemon’ advert

Simplicity of the poster represents a clean and fresh look upon the company, which can be seen in history, through Volkswagen, especially recovering the company after World War 2. The fresh simplicity look says to customers that the company has had a new reform and has changed into a modern and original company. (Relate back to figure 2). The white background supports the new fresh and clear look of the advertisement.

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