Corvette History Through Ads: Changes

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18-70 GM What else.jpg

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s were marked by sweeping social and life-style changes throughout the United States. Traditional values and mores were continually challenged and no longer accepted on face value alone. The way things had always been done was no longer an acceptable answer or solution. Everything from political views and philosophies to acceptable social etiquette and fashion were affected. Even rock and roll and art were caught up in the upheaval. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll? seemed to be the mantra of the times.

The era was reflected by popular TV shows like Batman, Laugh In, Sonny & Cher, the Smothers Brothers and All in the Family. Movie goers flocked to see The Graduate, Dirty Harry, Easy Rider, and Bullitt. Art was best represented by the bold, psychedelic posters of Peter Max. The mini skirt, boots, extra-wide bell-bottom jeans and long hair were the accepted fashion statements and many women, much to the approval of men, either burned or stopped wearing bras. Manufacturers of every type of product were challenged to adapt to the new tastes and lifestyles whether it be by developing totally new products to meet changing consumer tastes or simply changing a product’s color. Advertising and marketing looked at new ways to adapt to the changing tastes and effectively communicate to the consumer. GM was not immune. Their target customer demographic was also part of the social group affected by, if not supporting, the dramatic lifestyle changes taking place all over the country.

Corvette found itself in a unique position from both a manufacturing and advertising perspective and chose to meet the challenge head on. First, the traditional advertising art gave way to a more modern unique advertising style, not quite psychedelic but bordering on the bright and bold poster style characteristic of the time. The copy of the ad however chose to take on the very subject of “change.”

?Here it is. It’s really not a whole lot different looking. But in 17 years we’ve never changed it just to change it.? And why should they. For 1969, the year prior to this ad, 38,762 Corvettes were sold, setting a record. It was apparent that Larry Shinoda’s third generation Corvette was a huge success. Nevertheless some concessions were made to the changing tastes of the times. For the first time Monaco Orange was added as an exterior color. Fathom Green replaced British Green, and Riverside Gold replaced Corvette Bronze.

The copy goes on to spell out the “Corvette Idea.”

?And there’s one thing that hasn’t changed at all. The Corvette idea. It’s still a car built for the person who drives for the sheer excitement of it. For the driver who enjoys the true feel of the road?? All of which proves that when the product is right, when it fulfills a need and is built with quality there is little need to change just for the sake of change.


by Rick Tavel
Special to Corvette Forum

7-31-2013 All rights reserved, do not duplicate without permission.

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