Fancy on wheels: advertisement cars

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

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

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

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Fiat 1400 made in 1951 by Fissore for Odol toothpaste: the elongated frame, concave sides, and fins were typical of American style from those years

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Tempera on cardboard sketch of a model for a client presentation

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Model for an advertisement "Martini bus-bar" car from 1958, made for Martini e Rossi

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Study for the color interior of an advertisement "Martini bus-bar", built on an OM Leoncino for Martini e Rossi (1955)

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Sketches for a "Martini bus-bar" car, to be built on an OM Leoncino (1955)

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane- Italian advertisement cars

Bus-bar created by Fissore in 1961 for Martini e Rossi

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane- Italian advertisement cars

The back entrance to the Martini e Rossi bus-bar by Fissore

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane- Italian advertisement cars

Model for a Permaflex mattress showcase and demonstration vehicle, to be made on an OM Leoncino

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane- Italian advertisement cars

Sketch for a Singer sewing machine showcase and demonstration vehicle, to be made on an OM Leoncino

Showcase vehicle made by Fissore for the American sewing machine company Singer

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane- Italian advertisement cars

Demonstration vehicle made by Fissore for the American sewing machine company Singer

Study for the back trunk of a Neri advertisement vehicle

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Sketch for a Neri advertisement vehicle

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Sketch for a Bertelli advertisement vehicle (1951)

Autovetture pubblicitarie italiane - Italian advertisement cars

Basic sketch by Giovanni Michelotti, for a beach vehicle to be made on a Fiat 600 Multipla (1957)

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