Vintage Ads: From The July 1967 Road & Track – Let’s Grade Them

I decide to scan some of the ads in this issue of Road and Track, to share them with you. I noticed a distinct gradient in their effectiveness, so I’ve decided to treat them as class assignments and grade them.

This gets a B. Obviously it caches you attention both visually as well as with the title. But it doesn’t quite go far enough to make the sale. Eye catching is one thing; selling you on how your life will be better if you buy this is another. It’s a bit weak there.

B.  I’m a bit surprised how effective I found this ad to be. It’s title is very effective, in selling the Sprite’s purpose in life: a cheap sports car. The “hot” might have been “hotter”, to emphasize the Sprite’s new bigger 1275 cc engine. But it’s there in the copy, which is also pretty effective at getting its key points across.

Another good effort, with good eye appeal. I never knew there was a Honda Custom Group, as these two “custom” versions of the Sports 90 show.

D  I almost flew right past it. What’s it for? Neither the car or the brand are given anywhere near the space they need and deserve. The list of dealers is visually painful, but in that pre-internet era, finding an NSU dealer wasn’t all that easy presumably.

F  This is a total fail. One of the most seductive cars in the world is only shown in a very unseductive little outline drawing. Zero visual appeal, and terrible messaging. Who gives a damn about Spaghetti, Sausage and Wine? Everyone knows where they originated. Zero effectiveness, and shockingly bad.

This is a formulaic ad of a kind used by so many companies and for many years: A catchy title on top, an image of the car, and then a lot of text, hopefully compelling. Actually, I find this one better than average of the genre, but then the basic sales pitch of the Tiger was pretty compelling. Maybe a rear view of it leaving a nice patch of rubber on the road might have even been more compelling.

D-  I almost gave it an F. It reads like a press release. And showing the same exact picture twice is not effective, even if it’s trying to make a point. BTW, I didn’t know that the 230SL was still being sold alongside the 250SL, but I suspect that was quite short-lived.

It gets a C,  Naturally. It’s another very formulaic ad, but for some reason, it doesn’t catch my interest, unlike the Tiger ad.

C  It’s visually catching, because it’s in color and it’s a good photo. But the title has no connection to the actual car, even in a stretch.

B+  Corvette ads were typically some of the best, for a number of years. This one lacks the catchy copy, but the text is effective given that it reflects the Corvette’s perceived superiority and popularity. Corvette ads almost always make you want to be in the ad, the hallmark of it being effective.

Another sold effort, with good titles, photo and decent if uninspired copy.


Now here’s the classified ads. No grades, though.