A Quieter Ride

26 12 2016

This 1957 ad (detail shown) promotes the new cars manufactured by GM which featured reduced road noise thanks to specific designs by Fisher Body (a division of GM) – in this particular example, the 1958 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe is shooting past the Great Sphinx in what is accurately captioned “a dramatic portrayal.”



Up and Away

23 04 2016

Egyptianizing themes are found more frequently than expected in transportation-related advertising applications. For example, this 1940s ad from the Warner Aircraft Corporation, which announces the opening of their new “Scarab” engine plant. There is no reference explaining this choice of iconography, but I suppose one might draw a correlation to the Egyptian god Khepera, who was believed to push the sun on its course through the sky.

Warner engines ad-large

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

30 12 2013

As yachts go, there are tub toys…and then there are palaces.  According to this 1971 advertisement for the Huckins Fairform Flyer, Cleopatra would have cruised on a Huckins.  Because they make palaces.  Apparently, however, their marketing department wasn’t able to hire an equally superior artist for this ad.  Cleopatra was no beauty, but that sketch looks more like a drag queen impersonating a Viking warrioress being held captive in a harem.  To quote from the extensive ad copy: “But suppose, Cleo, you’d had a Huckins.  Any Huckins.  By comparison, the grandeur that was Rome would have paled into the realm of the commonplace.  Huckins luxury is incomparable, afloat or ashore, individually appointed to please the tastes and desires of the owners.  Whether for a day, a week or months of cruising, Huckins comfort enhances the pleasures of the most fastidious owners.  Yes Cleo, there’s no telling how far you could have gone with a Huckins.  You might have ruled the world.”

Huckins yacht-small

Oh What a Feeling!

6 08 2012

Not all ads hit the bell on the excitment scale, but sometimes that reflects prevailing social tastes more than creativity deficits on the ad developer’s side.  This Toyota  Starlet ad from 1980 gives a brief nod to ancient times with the pyramid and tagline “Maybe the First Small Wonder of the World” – but the Egyptomania theme plays second fiddle to the product.  Actually, it’s more like tenth fiddle.  Hardly even a theme.  After all, in 1980 folks were more focused on who shot J.R. and trying to recover from disco.  That’s one of the interesting quirks of Egyptomania – it always pops up in a different form than it did previously.


15 05 2012

I’m not sure how the inspiration for this 1980 Ford MPG van ad came about, but I want a van like that.  Built tough, out-front engine design, spacious comfort, great gas mileage would be enough – but the portrait of King Tut clinches it.

Faster Than a Speeding Barge

15 08 2011

“Mark my words, Antony, Imperial Service is out of this world!”  This punny advertising headline is punctuated by a photo of a modern, hip and swinging Cleopatra winging her way to her lover du jour.  The text continues, “Here’s a lady who knows real luxury.  That’s why she’s flying Imperial Service – on North-
west Orient Airlines.  Who could ask for anything more?  You’ll be served tempting hors d’oeuvres…….
………treated to vintage Champagne.  And what menus!  They range from filet mignon to lobster tail to Cornish game hen.  On certain Imperial Flights there’s even an air-to-ground phone so you can talk to your friends – another luxury service pioneered by Northwest.  Your flight will be silken-smooth, too, thanks to Northwest’s all-weather radar.  So give wings to your heart!  Fly with Northwest Orient Airlines Imperial Eagle – mark of airborne quality.”

Jeep – a Blast From the Past

18 06 2011

Today, the name ‘Jeep’ conjurs up an image of a boxy vehicle with open roof and sides, navigated by rowdy collegiates in flip-flops.  (If the season happens to be winter, amend that to plastic window covers and Ugg boots.)  But before Jeep was a cool vehicle, it was a practical one.  This 1940s ad displays the Jeep Station Wagon’s  versatility both as a family touring car and hauler of bulky cargo – oftentimes the same thing.  International appeal is credited to Chicagoans and those-who-reside-in-Cairo (Cairenes, Cairoites?) alike.

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