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

autoveicoli pubblicitari lucido Ebano - advertisement cars for Ebano polish

Shoe-shaped car advertising Ebano polish, by Grazia bodyshop in Bologna

autoveicoli pubblicitari lucido da scarpe Cavallino - advertisement cars for Cavallino polish

The back of a car made by Fissore for Cavallino shoe polish, with aluminum box and logo

autoveicoli pubblicitari dentifricio Binaca - advertisement cars for Binaca toothpaste

Car made by Boneschi bodyshop for Binaca toothpaste

autoveicoli pubblicitari dentifricio Binaca - advertisement cars for Binaca toothpaste

Binaca cars during the 33rd Giro d'Italia

Fissore car for Durban's toothpaste

autoveicoli pubblicitari dentifricio Chlorodont - advertisement cars for Chiorodont toothpaste

Car made by Boneschi bodyshop for Chiorodont toothpaste

autoveicoli pubblicitari dentifricio Chlorodont - advertisement cars for Chiorodont toothpaste

Car for Chiorodont toothpaste

autoveicoli pubblicitari - advertisement cars

Station-wagon like body by Fissore, based on a Fiat 1100 with 3D figurines of Smacchiolina and Lustrino on the roof

autoveicoli pubblicitari Liquigas - advertisement cars Liquigas

34th Giro d'Italia: Lancia van with the silhouette of Liquigas's puppet/GPL gas cylinder

autoveicoli pubblicitari - advertisement cars

Boneschi estate car for Pal hollow ground blades

autoveicoli pubblicitari Simmenthal - advertisement cars for Simmenthal

34th Giro d'Italia: Fiat 1100 with Simmenthal canned meat customization

autoveicoli pubblicitari Simmenthal - advertisement cars

35th Giro d'Italia: Simmenthal's cow

autoveicoli pubblicitari - advertisement cars

Zoovit animal feed vehicle

autoveicoli pubblicitari Società Italiana Veterinaria Agricola Milano

Car advertising SIVAM, Società Italiana Veterinaria Agricola Milano

autoveicoli pubblicitari Campari - advertisement cars

Fiat Topolino with the "glutton bear" drinking Campari Cordial

autoveicoli pubblicitari "Corasoda" - advertisement cars

Car adverising Cora, with "Corasoda" customization

autoveicoli pubblicitari Campari - advertisement cars

1938 Giro d'Italia: a Packard customized with bottles on the roof for Campari, in front of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

autoveicoli pubblicitari Strega Alberti - advertisement cars

A customization for Strega Alberti liquor

autoveicoli pubblicitari Presbitero - advertisement cars

Coriasco bodyshop car, customized for Presbitero nibs and color pencils

Veicoli pubblicitari Utet - advertisement cars

A Fiat 1100 EL customized by Scall, Turin, for UTET publishing house

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