So when I was backed into a corner about my thesis topic while a grad student at Michigan State and managed to persuade my advisor that the advertising of the Packard Motor Car Company would be a fit subject, I pretty much thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
Now that it's been aged in fine pine bookshelves for many years this morsel of minor scholarship has been revised, updated and actually published, not by a vanity press but by a card-carrying book publisher, McFarland Press , in the mountains of North Carolina, the land of my birth.
After two years of fussing, it can now actually be purchased from McFarland online or at Barnes & Noble, Amazon et al. Put the title “Ask the Man Who Owns One” in the query box and it comes right up. There’s even a website dedicated to it where you can see 25 of the 145 illustrations that are in the book.
It’s turns out to be a pretty good story if you’re interested in cars or advertising - in spite of the fact that it was written in the bloom of youth before I’d ever written an ad for pay. I had the opportunity to talk with people who had worked for the company in its prime and some who made advertising for it as far back as 1925. If you're able to transport yourself back to the 1930's, you'll find the work from Young & Rubicam a creative revolution in its own right.
Should you know anyone who’s interested in how a brand was built before ‘branding’ was the vogue, pass the word along. The reproduction of the ads is disappointing and the lay out artist was on drugs. But if cars or ads are your thing, you may find something of interest here.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.