I was delighted to stumble across this vintage commercial on YouTube recently, in remarkably good condition for its age. Lou Rawls’ catchy vocals have been stuck in my head for a few days now, although the tune sounds suspiciously like “Delilah”…
For 1977, Dodge introduced a print and television advertising campaign proclaiming, “The night belongs to Charger”. Dodge hadn’t been able to capture the Charger’s luxury as evocatively as Chrysler with its famous Cordoba campaign, starring Ricardo Montalbán. They also didn’t play up the sporty angle – luxury was in, anyway, and the flashy Charger Daytona wasn’t sporty-looking enough in the traditional sense like the also popular Firebird and Camaro. That left appealing to “night people”, whatever that meant. From a 21st century perspective, this commercial is a cool period piece with a goodly amount of 70s glam and some appealing visuals. But to the young, hip people Dodge was targeting in the 1970s, did this make the Charger look cool enough?
Hundreds of magazines safely off screen
I must admit, I have an odd connection with the 1975-78 Dodge Charger and this particular advertising campaign. Several years ago, I learned of the personal luxury Charger’s existence and was fascinated. “Really? They put the Charger name on a Cordoba body?” I asked myself. In my hunt on the internet for more information on this fascinating failure, I stumbled across these vintage advertisements and discovered people collected and sold them on eBay. Several years later, I have over 130 vintage American car ads from 1970 to 1980. It all started with those “Night Belongs To Charger” advertisements, and I have to thank the Dodge marketing team of the 1970s for getting me to fork over a bit of money over the years… Just not on what they thought they were encouraging people to buy!