At one point in the history of Italian advertisement, huge cutouts in the shape of bottles and canned meat started appearing on car roofs; there were shoes and tubes of toothpaste, odd torpedoes, and sharks.
They were the “advertisement vehicles” that invaded Italian streets in the 1950s and 1960s, to promote the widest possible range of products in the country’s post-war economy on the verge of its boom.
The odd silhouettes started peeping out in 1946, during the revived Giro d’Italia. Italian television and its fantastic “Carosello” would not be born until 1954, so cars at the time were the perfect medium for dynamic advertisement communication. It was, in a way, a creative evolution of a tried and tested method: streetcars and busses that carried posters on their sides from square to square and down every street.
The striking vehicles were the creation of many car body designers, including the Fissore brothers, Boneschi, Mantelli, Borsani, Monviso, Coriasco, Barbi, Zagato, and many others.
Enjoy this parade of clever, inventive advertisement cars.
Photos via: Paolo Fissore, “La pubblicità mette le ruote”, Automobile Club Cuneo, Savigliano 2004
Shoe-shaped car advertising Ebano polish, by Grazia bodyshop in Bologna
The back of a car made by Fissore for Cavallino shoe polish, with aluminum box and logo
Car made by Boneschi bodyshop for Binaca toothpaste
Binaca cars during the 33rd Giro d'Italia
Fissore car for Durban's toothpaste
Car made by Boneschi bodyshop for Chiorodont toothpaste
Car for Chiorodont toothpaste
Station-wagon like body by Fissore, based on a Fiat 1100 with 3D figurines of Smacchiolina and Lustrino on the roof
34th Giro d'Italia: Lancia van with the silhouette of Liquigas's puppet/GPL gas cylinder
Boneschi estate car for Pal hollow ground blades
34th Giro d'Italia: Fiat 1100 with Simmenthal canned meat customization
35th Giro d'Italia: Simmenthal's cow
Zoovit animal feed vehicle
Car advertising SIVAM, Società Italiana Veterinaria Agricola Milano
Fiat Topolino with the "glutton bear" drinking Campari Cordial
Car adverising Cora, with "Corasoda" customization
1938 Giro d'Italia: a Packard customized with bottles on the roof for Campari, in front of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
A customization for Strega Alberti liquor
Coriasco bodyshop car, customized for Presbitero nibs and color pencils
A Fiat 1100 EL customized by Scall, Turin, for UTET publishing house