We have gathered a collection of 60 Vintage Ford Ads and we think that you’ll simply enjoy both them, and our analysis. In this article, we’ve put the ads in a chronological order. That was a tremendous effort because we are talking about a 5 decade period. I might be wrong, but I think this is the first systematic analysis published on the web that regards Ford’s advertisement from 1920s to the 1970s.
In 2010, Ford was the 5th largest automaker in the world with 5.3 million cars sold. Its main competitors Hyundai, Volkswagen, General Motors and Toyota sold and are selling a lot more cars, but these companies don’t have the legendary aura that was created around the figure of one of its founders Henry T. Ford. Yes, contrary to what you might have heard, Henry T. Ford wasn’t the only forefather of Ford Motors. And that’s only one of the myths circulating around.
Dismantling some myths
1) The first Ford car, the T. Model, was created in 1908. Contrary to a common held belief, the first functional car was created by Karl Friedrich Benz, 23 years before the T. Model. A year later, in 1886, Benz and his partner Daimler created Mercedes-Benz.
2) Well, you might say that the pioneer of mass production assembly was Henry T. Ford. But he didn’t invent it; he just contributed financially to its development.
So what’s left for Ford? No one can challenge his brilliant entrepreneur skills as well as his great engineering skills.
Ford’s advertisement strategy
Ford strongly believed in the power of advertisement and therefore he invested heavily in making its Ford T. Model known. By the late 1920s, the overwhelming majority of Ford’s ads where in colour. Keep in mind that back then, only a handful of companies could’ve afford them.
Ford’s enduring Logo
In the first ad to feature here, created in 1929 (more than 80 years ago!) Ford’s logo looks remarkably similar to the one that we’ve seen today. I assure that that’s not because of the lack of creativity or even worse, reluctance. As David Airey puts it “when it comes to logo design and brand identity, it’s better to leave the trends to the fashion industry”. Therefore, you need to incorporate tradition. And Ford as well as Coca-Cola are probably the best examples here.
Nevertheless, throughout the period (1920s-1970s) Ford’s logo is ambiguously used. For example, in the frenetic ad campaigns of the 1940s “There’s a Ford in your Future”, a crystal ball – similar to the one used by fortune tellers replaced the blue background of the Ford logo. (see the 1940s section).
The Ford logo as we know it today, it’s beginning to be used regularly since the 1960s.
The 1920s-30s and income structure
In that period, Ford sold 3 types of cars: luxury cars, middle class cars and mass market cars. Therefore, it had three types of advertisements that were targeting people by using income as its central measure. You can easily remark that, if you look at the ads from the 20s-30s section.
The 1940s and the Ford in your future campaign
During that decade, Ford realized that it can make a lot more profit if it changed its strategy into selling mass market cars. From this point on, Ford’s ads will feature mainly common people – the masses rather than the highly rich.
Furthermore, starting from 1945, Ford promoted a campaign called “There is a Ford in your future!” A great slogan that got along with a story teller’s crystal ball. What is striking, when we compare Ford with other ads from that period is that we can’t see any World War II influence in it. A hint here is that Henry T. Ford was a deeply convinced pacifist.
1950s – The first full colour photo ad
The first Ford photo ads came out in the late 1950s. It was an instant success. Compared to the 1940s, the Ford ads of this decade used a more minimal approach. Few characters and other gizmos and more Ford. Also, less text. Therefore, no other distractions were allowed. People were to see Fords and only Fords.
1960s – Creativity
The 1960s, often referred as the Golden Age of Advertisement has seen some really creative Ford ads. And the 1969 ad for the Ford Mustang GT 500 is simply mind blowing. “People will talk” has such a strong impact that I for instance can get it out of my mind.
1970s – Let the images speak out!
If I were to describe the 1970s Ford ads in 3 words I would say: minimalism, powerful and persuasive. The images are simply great and actually they don’t need more comment, you just need to view them and you’ll understand everything that I’m talking about.
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Ford Model A – Convertible Cabriolet (1929)
The New Three Window Ford Sedan (1930)
Ford Sedan (1931)
Ford Tudor Sedan (1931)
Ford De Luxe Five Window Coupe (1935)
Ford V8 Trucks (1938)
Two Fords (1939)
Ford “Woody” Station Wagon (1939)
Get The Facts Ford (1940)
Getting Directions From A Clown (1941)
Growing The Green Ford (1941)
There’s a Ford in your Future!(1945)
Ford’s Out Front (1946)
Ford’s Out in Front (1946)
… campaigning Ford (1946)
…all ’round performance!(1947)
Ticker Tape: Wot’s That? (1948)
New Picture Window Visibility (1948)
Suburban Bliss (1950)
All The Best For The Years Ahead (1951)
Ford Zephyr Six (1953)
The Streets Of San Francisco (1955)
Ford Fairlane Victoria 2door hardtop (1956)
Courier Service (1957)
Ford Taunus 17M (1958)
Ford Thunderbird (1959)
Ford Thunderbird 4 door Landau Gulf Oil (1967)
Ford Range (1963)
Ford Thunderbird (1963)
Ford F-100 Pickup Truck (1964)
Thunderbird for ’65 – Unique in all the world
The Private World of the Thunderbird is one luxury car that thinks of everything.
Ford Thunderbird Town Hardtop Coupe (1966)
The Wizard of Ahhs – 1966 Fairlane Convertible
The Thunderbird ’66 Touch
A speed control conveniently located on the steering wheel
Ford Fairlane GT/A Convertible (1966)
Runs On Milk Chocolate (1966)
Ford Mustang GT Fastback 2+2 (1967)
Ford Mustang Mach I (1969)
People Will Talk (1969)
Ford Ranchero Pickup Truck (1969)
Ford F-100 Pickup Truck (1970)
Ford Torino 500 Station Wagon (1971)
Ford Pickup Truck (1971)
Ford Mustang Grande Hardtop (1971)
Ford Mustang Sprint Coupe and Sportsroof (1972)
Ford Mustang Mach I (1973)
Ford Maverick (1975)
Ford Pinto Runabout (1975)
Ford LTD Country, Gran Torino and Pinto Squire Wagons (1975)
Ford Wagon Brochure Cover (1976)
Ford Mustang Cobra II (1978)
Ford LTD II S (1978)
Ford Pinto 3 (1979)