When I first saw these at Alden Jewell’s Flickr page, I had a momentary doubt as to whether they were really from 1928. The graphics, especially the lettering for the title is so snappy; it reminds me more of something from the sixties. But Alden took the original scans from the magazines they ran in himself, so there’s no doubt about their provenance.
I’ll show you a couple of other ads from that same period as a contrast.
This is the other one in the series.
Here’s one for a REO, from 1928.
And a Cadillac from the same year. Nice renderings, but a lot more conservative stylistically.
There’s a certain Bruce McCall ( https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/my-life-in-cars ) character to that Chrysler ad. Very neat.
I also like the Cadillac ad. The impossibly thin and tall rendering of the female form in the 20s fascinates me. As does a golf course where there are no golf carts to be seen. (Although I do fear for whatever golfers might be crossing the road ahead of the car in the picture. I wish that driver would keep her eyes on the road…)
Great article, thanks…
Very Art Deco! Chrysler was kind of the “high-tech” car of its day, so it doesn’t surprise me that it was aiming for a younger, hipper demographic. The ad says it all: “A car of today for the sophisticated tastes of today!”
After years of looking at ads of this era and doing some other research, it amazes me how much the palate of popular colors in the 1920s was picked up again in the late 60s and the 70s with the earth tones and autumnal colors.
In another one of your great posts featuring illustrations (versus photos) someone mentioned that the illustrations gave the product the advantage of exaggerating the benefits of the product. Of course today computers can transform anything. The Imperial ad seems to be more FORWARD LOOK 😉 ing than the others ! 😎
Damn computers, as I said, they can mess up anything 🤮. Even double post! 😠 😡 😤 😣
I wonder who/what agency was responsible for that! Although I have a strange feeling the campaign wasn’t well-recieved by the public at the time in a too-far-ahead type way.
That Cadillac ad is bizzare… is the car rendered out of proportion with the occupants that the strange elongated torso and short legs of the bystanders correlate to the necessary body type to drive tha car as shown?
Look closely at the traffic light in the first ad – green on top, red on bottom! Coincidentally (?) in that very year (1928) the same configuration was put up in the heavily Irish neighborhood of Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, New York.
The history is quite interesting:
It always surprises me to see advertising that’s more “casual” (for lack of a better word) than what’s typical of their time. Coincidentally, the Chrysler 80 ad is on eBay right now: https://www.ebay.com/itm/303819301460?hash=item46bd0aa254:g:41cAAOSwsaZf3-pB&amdata=enc%3AAQAIAAAA8IIAOVxJPIUkzuJsvfZ57derL3ctaV7xWpkUlfmIFiEI4H6ZxZenqu5mrrIRVCOEhUdGMSJQBV%2FTSn6%2BkMPEN8SEUK%2F7dGWcgMqBq0SjxKog52fUfuG4kUBMWZKcuboAtjQk1WGtCnYKCEtNDdUF79zhqRbV%2BVsKn8a%2B2w%2BCidoeY837fp28dzsvAegGhvA33w7vTlVeX5pfaHs7xT2OA8fQeZP5yT0%2F5EDh3t9rfoZ95jeWUAEaUQLFrYxa3hLKNWmII8n4KeKbT6QyXRbl%2FDIOdsK%2B6ZyauTruEnHDqb%2BMPu7jk0eQ2bIyMz%2Fm%2FUIiYg%3D%3D%7Ctkp%3ABk9SR7DK2_T3YQ
I assume(d) that the typeface was designed by the artist and lettered in—rather than an off-the-shelf type-foundry product—but I wish I could be sure. Here’s **something** like it from 1902, but I wish I could find a real match:
What a great ad. My mother’s aunt Sophie drove one of these and she really was sophisticated. My mother grew up in a small town in southwestern Ontario and lived there until 1933. Sophie lived in Toronto, which is about 130 miles away, so a significant drive in the late 20s. She used to come and visit them driving herself in her Chrysler Imperial. She would have been in her 50s at the time (born in 1870). The car certainly impressed my mother as a child, enough that she would tell me story 40 years later. My mother had 17 aunts but Sophie was her favourite, and I can understand why. I only met her a couple of times, as she died when I was 18, but she makes the top of my list partly because of the Imperial.
Unfortunately I have never seen a photo of the car. Sophie and her husband were well known in Toronto so I thought I might be able to find a photo online, but so far no luck. There are lots of pictures of both of them, but never with a car in sight.
In the Cadillac advert I like the caddie leaning against a tree looking wistfully at the car as it drives by .
The bold color contrasts and “pencil drawn”, aspects remind me of the “Plymouth Cricket” ads. ((magazine ones that is))
When I first looked at this writeup earlier today, I didn’t appreciate how top-of-the-line that Chrysler 80 was, these prices being $48K–118K in 2023 (= for an elite, fashion-minded, theater-going buyer). Was this perhaps a FORTUNE magazine ad?
These are wonderful ads; I think I could stare at them for hours and not get tired of it.
Those Imperial ads – with their graphics, colors and typefaces – are so extraordinary that they look almost like modern imitations of vintage art deco ads, the kind folks can buy as big posters for their rec room.
The language in these ads also speaks to a more sophisticated time. The RED ad manages to incorporate gaiety, vanquished, lusting, swaggering and debonair…to name a few!