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Vintage Advertising: Selling Luxury

In Issue:

Packard car ad

Though long gone — production ceased in 1956 — Packard automobiles are still remembered for their elegance and engineering. In their day, they had a reputation for sumptuous style and fine craftsmanship. And high price.

Beginning in the late 1920s, the Packard Motor Company ran a series of colorful ads in the Post that displayed not only the car but the glamorous life associated with it. These innovative ads paid tribute to artists and adventurers or showed consumers in elegant attire in exotic places to emphasize Packard’s appeal “for a discriminating clientele.” And all Packard ads included the slogan that only a confident manufacturer would make: “Ask the man who owns one.”

The slogan first appeared in 1901 ­ —the concept of associating a consumer product with an aspirational lifestyle was groundbreaking at the time and has been the model for many an ad campaign since.

Also see our image gallery of Classic Car Ads: The Packard.

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  • Beautiful ad feature on the Packard. The ad copy here emphasizes speed, indeed more than you’ll ever need, over luxury. The Crash and Depression didn’t affect Packard as severely as two of its competitors, Duesenberg and Cord, unfortunately both ending in 1937.