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The best car advertisements from the 1970s |Drive – Drive

by Oct 24, 2022Blog0 comments

Sun, sex, and Shakespeare formed an unholy alliance in the world of car advertising in Australia in the 1970s. Here are some of our favourites.
Last time out we looked at the information rich advertising of the 1960s, where ads for new cars read almost like a feature story.
Jumping ahead into the 1970s with a psychedelic bang, we start to see more conceptual advertising from Australia’s automotive industry, many car makers ditching the long-winded feature-laden spiel in favour of selling a dream.
From the dream of luxury and prestige to the ideal of a carefree lifestyle filled with sun, sand and fast cars, advertisers looked to tap into the zeitgeist of the ’70s.
Panel vans were no longer sold as just a delivery van. Instead, they promised long days at the beach and long nights… well, you know the rest.
European car makers sold the dream of luxury and prestige, a dream tapped it into by mainstream manufacturers which marketed their ranges as anything but mainstream. If you believed Leyland, as example, you’d think the Austin 1800 was a luxury car. Lolz.
Motorsport also provided a valuable advertising tool, with Renault somehow equating its 20TS with Formula One success.
And then there are the inexplicable ads, such as Mazda using woman parachuting, dressed in only a swimsuit, to sell its rotary-powered R100 Coupe. No, we don’t know why either, but we can imagine the creative meeting was filled with champagne and whatever else advertising execs were ingesting in the 70s.
Volvo tried to be cool, Saab tried to be different, Valiant tried to be not Ford and Holden, and Rover resorted to William Shakespeare to try and sell its range of so-so executive cars.
So take a quick trip back to the groovy 1970s with us, and let us know which ads are your favourites in the comments below.
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Features Editor
Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.
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Copyright 2022ABN: 84 116 608 158
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