How about now?
Alex Balk, Smoker
Carol Diehl, Art Critic
Matthew Gallaway , Novelist
Megan Lubaszka, Architect
Angela Serratore, Historian
Tim Siedell, Ad Man
Natasha Simons, Writer
Dave Wilkie, Ad Man
Get the subtext?
This early 70’s Jaguar ad gives you some insight into the evolution of the strategy behind the campaign. The tag develops along on the same lines as the mistress, fast, unobtainable woman narrative.
If a lady can either be a Marilyn or a Jackie, then this same Kinseyian principle also applies to automobiles.
Every convertible may look similar, but they’re not the same. Out in the sun-drunk air of Southern California, free from his cold, urban life, Don Draper’s automotive selection presents what type of man he is.
If this was the Don of Season 2, we could envision him behind the wheel of the brand new (to the marketplace) Ford Mustang – a powerful and sleek automobile, able to attract ladies with just a glance – touring PCH with the top down.
Instead, it’s Season 4, and he’s a different Don, clunking along in the “luxury” Imperial, carrying its 5,185 lbs. of American steel and dreadfully harsh lines. Where is the guy who pitched the Jantzen ad earlier this year? Oh yeah, he’s cruising in a car for older men trying to feel young again.
And if the Imperial is reminiscent of something, it’s not a two-piece bathing suit. The Chrysler is lacking the arousal factor (something Don desperately needs to find again) to pull that off. A few years prior, Chrysler pulled off what Duck Phillips never could: they poached designer Elwood Engle away from Ford. While at Ford, Engle designed multiple automobile bodies, including the 1961 Lincoln Continental.
Hey, wasn’t that Grandpa Gene’s car?
*Footnote by - Mike Adams
What else will they come up with nowadays?
“I told the team that I wanted the car to appeal to women, but I wanted men to desire it, too.”
-Joe Oros, Ford Product Design
* * *
If ever there was a car that inspired raw desire, it was 1964’s Ford Mustang. Ford’s most successful product since the Model T, the Mustang created the “pony car” class of American automobile — sports car-like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks designed to appeal to the Man in every American male.
Unlike the Volkswagen Beetle, the Mustang came prepared to sell itself—it’s debut at the World’s Fair was followed by a print campaign in which bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young couples got as close as was decent and eyed the car’s sleek body and lush interior.
The price was low (starting at $2368, the Mustang was almost a thousand bucks cheaper than the 1964 average, making it especially attractive to teenagers and young men), his grip on her was tight, and there was nary a child in sight—the Mustang was decidedly not a family car, though it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that more than a few families were started in the Mustang’s backseat.
That’s not to say Ford’s product design and marketing teams weren’t interested in Draper-style tactics—consider this anecdote, from Gary L. Witzeburg’s Mustang: The Complete History of America’s Pioneer Pony Car:
“Among the many accolades heaped upon the first Mustang, including the prestigious Industrial designer’s Institute Award, perhaps the most cherished by Henry Ford II was the Tiffany Gold Medal Award, bestowed by the famed diamond merchant “For Excellence in American Design.” Walter Hoving, Tiffany & Company chairman, presented the medal to Mr. Ford during the April 13th World’s fair press introduction ceremonies, and it marked the first time this prestigious honor had been awarded to an automobile.
Actually, according to then Mustang product planner Hal Sperlich, it had happened because Ford PR people had approached Tiffany, instead of the other way around. “Somebody said, ‘You know, the car really ought to win an award; it ought to be an award-winning car,’ but there wasn’t anything suitable,” Sperlich recalls. “So somebody was dispatched to see Walter Hoving, and Walter agreed …provided he could look the car over to make sure it was suitable, and the deal was struck.”
The Mustang’s popularity continued to rise throughout the 60s, and it’s starring role as Steve McQueen’s ride in 1968’s Bullit cemented it’s status as the ultimate symbol of American vehicular virility.
For more of McQueen Mustang-d Manliness check out the divine Selvedge Yard.
Footnote by Angela Serratore