A major force in the American automobile scene through the 1950s, Packard made a mark on American advertising as well. The cars themselves seemed built for promotion--the red hexagon in the hubcap, the yoke grille, and the half-arrow belt-line molding acted as a logo of sorts, setting a new standard in visual continuity and branding. The company's image became so firmly established, in fact, that Packard eventually ran advertisements which pictured the cars but purposely omitted the name, instead asking readers to "guess what name it bears."
This book traces Packard's advertising history from 1900 through 1958, based on original research that includes several first-hand interviews with the people who made it happen. Filled with reproductions of Packard ads (some in color), the book looks beyond the surface to examine how the advertisements reflect and interpret the company's management and business convictions, how they were influenced by business conditions and competitive pressure, and how they changed with the times.
Arthur W. Einstein — An auto enthusiast and advertising executive, Arthur W. Einstein, Jr., lives in New York City.
Einstein, Arthur W., Jr. "Ask the man who owns one": an illustrated history of Packard advertising. McFarland, 2010. 258p bibl index afp ISBN 0-7864-4773-7; ISBN 9780786447732. Reviewed in 2011apr CHOICE.
This is much more than a book about Packard advertising; indeed, it is also an interesting history of the automobile. Einstein, an auto enthusiast and advertising executive, posits that the advertising was excellent in part because the automobile was excellent and deserved the fine print treatment it received. Fittingly, the author brings an appropriate level of writing, research, and editing to his task such that the Packard, the advertisements, and this volume are all top shelf. One can read this book cover to cover to learn about the Packard and peripherally, the industry, from the fin-de-siècle to the sad Studebaker merger that ended the run of one of the most famous automobiles ever produced. If that is more information than desired, a reader can simply examine the numerous reproduced print ads. Many are so well written that one will be both surprised and impressed. Some seem quite contemporary, such as the very art deco 1931 ad from the New Yorker: "... bodies are lower, interiors newly insulated against sound and temperature. Wheelbases are longer, tread wider. Power is greater, smoother, and quieter." An excellent bibliography along with a limited index ends this volume; it is a joy for automobile and advertising enthusiast alike.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- C. J. Myers, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia