Considering Studebaker’s fortunes by 1960, I can’t tell if this advertising campaign was innovative or desperate. Probably a bit of both. In any case, through the ’50s there were quite a few concepts and efforts from the Big 3 aimed at women, each pondering; what do women want?
GM had built the Pontiac Parisienne and Impala Martinique (above) concepts, each stuffed with every cliché in the book as to what a woman might want. Always the eternal teaser, GM didn’t follow up on those ideas. Meanwhile, the boys at Dodge thought they had found quite the niche to fill, and their women-oriented La Femme appeared in 1955-56. It sold in dismal numbers, with less than 300 finding a home during its two-year run.
Studebaker seems to have looked at the whole matter differently, and their efforts were aimed at marketing niches to position their products. The same good Lark everyone knew, but aimed at specific demographics that might appreciate its attributes. Thus, the sensibly sized, and practical Lark found itself parading along the products of Vicky Vaughn; a rather popular women’s clothing line from the period.
Not that Studebaker’s actions were that revolutionary. Every carmaker was veering progressively into that kind of demographic advertising. As the ’60s advanced, such practices would become rather normal, if not common.
Studebaker was definitely trying some new tricks with their 1960 ads. Besides the Vicky Vaughn campaign, Lark ads also appeared in Ebony, with human models the magazine’s usual readers could relate to.
As for Vicky Vaughn, the internet says it was the Junior division of R&M Kaufmann. The company had been making moderately priced high-quality dresses and sleepwear since the 1920s and was acquired by Russ Togs in 1969, with the Vicky Vaughn brand being phased out.
Did women love that Lark look? I don’t have gender-specific numbers, but ’59 and ’60 brought the last significant uptick in Studebaker’s sales. From the looks of things, seems like they did.