Advertisement and imagination on wheels

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


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