1920s Car Advertisements
Automobile Advertisements from the 1920's
The following is a selection of 1920's car advertisements taken from my vintage automobile ad collection that illustrate the beautiful cars and fantastic color illustrations that are typical of automobile advertising throughout most of the 1920's era.
Prior to the advent of television and radio advertising, print media was the most popular form of advertising. Popular periodicals of the 1920's almost always contained car advertisements from the major car manufacturers—that even included women's magazines, since women were, and are still, a major influence in car buying! You will see from the 1920's ads below that the marketing methods used by car manufacturers way back then are still being used just as successfully today.
The period between 1925 and the end of 1929 was the peak period for color in car advertisements. Prior to 1925. most car ads were black and white. Following the stock market crash of October 1929, many magazine car advertisements reverted to black and white again. Only the more expensive and profitable car brands could afford color ads during the depression years as car makers struggled just to survive.
Nothing stays the same forever. Toward the very end of the 1920s, and especially in the early 1930s, color photographs began to be used in advertisements; but to me, the magic of the advertisements was gone.
This is a celebration of 1920's car illustrations before photos destroyed the magic. These beautiful illustrations by talented American illustrators, showcase the wonderful cars of the roaring twenties.
Idealized Illustrated Car Ads
Rather than expensive photo shoots in remote or exotic locations, why don't car manufacturers revert to the 1920s method of illustrated backgrounds and vehicles as in the ad above. It opens up the possibility of fantasy backgrounds and unique advertisements to catch buyers' attention and overshadow the competition.
Introduction of Color Photos in Car Advertisements
Cadillac were one of the first car manufacturers to take advantage of the new and exciting developments in color photography and use color photos of their vehicles in advertising. However, in my opinion, this photo of a 1930 Cadillac which was used in advertisements is not as appealing as the illustrated advertisement above, which preceded it!
Color photographs had novelty value, and new is always considered better - but is it really? Fashions often go full circle and visit the old. Perhaps car illustrations will once again revisit the 1920s style.
Car Advert by Chevrolet Targeting Women Drivers
A Ford Car Advertisement Targeting Business Women
Smaller cars for women drivers.
Art Deco Style Franklin Sedan Advertisement
Dodge Cars Were Big on Appearance and Reliability
Beautiful cars with a reputation for toughness, from Dodge Brothers.
A General Motors Pontiac Big Six From $745
Emphasizing speed and power. Still the emphasis of much advertising today!
An Up-Market Straight-Eight Coupe From Pierce Arrow
Only $895 for an Oakland V-Eight!
Associating cars with aeroplanes - a marketing technique that is still used with great effect in car ads and commercials today!
Associating a coupe with outdoor recreation - in this case, golf.