Fancy on wheels: advertisement cars

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Sketches for an advertisement car for Odol toothpaste on Fiat 1400 (1951)

Here is a parade of the advertisement cars that drove Italian and international major brands all over the country after the Second World War (a phenomenon we also showcased in a previous post, dedicated to some of these inventive means of transportation/communication).

In her preface to Paolo Fissore’s charming book, “La pubblicità mette le ruote” (from which the following images are taken), Donatella Biffignandi, head of the Documentation Center for Turin’s Automobile Museum, wrote:

“These vehicles advertised something ‘else’: from shoe polish to chocolate to toothpaste. They fully embody their role as ‘vehicles’, i.e. ‘means to spread or propagate something’. Instead of transporting people, they transported commercial products, and most importantly ideas, fun, fancy, imagination.”

“They went up and down the peninsula, allowing housewives in the most isolated towns to try out a sewing machine, a blender, a fridge. What’s more, they communicated in a way that was different from before the war.”

“The elitist advertisement communication of the first forty years of the century had been designed to impress only a small part of the population – the wealthy who could afford high-end goods such as cars or gramophones. Now communication was targeted at everyone, because everyone in Italian society had started turning into a consumer, albeit coyly.”

“That is why it is flashy, loud, bold, and the complete opposite of the elegant, discreet, allusive communication of the previous years. It had to be understood in the North and in the South, by students and mailmen, cobblers and lawyers. In the history of advertisement these vehicles, although short-lived, represent a crucial turning point: the rise of consumerist society” (translated from the preface to P. Fissore, “La pubblicità mette le ruote”, Automobile Club Cuneo, Savigliano 2004).

Photos via: Paolo Fissore, “La pubblicità mette le ruote”, Automobile Club Cuneo, Savigliano 2004

January 14, 2016