MotorCities National Heritage Area
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By: Robert Tate, Automotive Historian/Researcher
Images courtesy of Robert Tate's collection
Posted: 10.26.2015 


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The Cadillac name plate belongs to a distinguished and honorable luxury car brand that many automotive historians and consumers have enjoyed for a very long time.

Cadillac enthusiasts have always highlighted a proud history of great and popular automobile designs. Over many years, Cadillac has compiled a unique and interesting history of engineering and styling innovations that have created a loyal consumer base.

During the early days when the Cadillac Motor Car company was getting started in Detroit in 1903, this automotive journey would start Cadillac's great success and heritage for the history books and for the future.

This story is about the legendary advertisements that Cadillac had introduced from the 1930s to 1970s and later how the Cadillac automobile was promoted for the consumer market.
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During the fall, magazines are a showcase for new and exciting vehicles. They show images and descriptions of your new vehicle into nearly every American household to be looked and studied, reviewed and talked about and compared.

Shortly after the Cadillac Motor Car Co. was founded, the decade following (1920 to 1930) witnessed some of the the greatest developments in Cadillac’s Motor Car history with its great eye catching automotive designs.

During World War II, Cadillac did not focus on needed advertising but did feature great artistic work from the great Thomas Cleland, who illustrated some of the most beautiful automotive prints in the world. It was also during this time period, that the 1927 Cadillac La Salle became the first automobile designed completely by the late Harley Earl.

Cadillac advertising in the early half of the 1930s continued in the pattern of simplicity and elegance. The 1938 Cadillac model was introduced as a practical motor car that featured advanced styling.

After the war had ended, Cadillac continued to focus their advertising campaign on the consumers highlighting style and elegance. In 1948, Cadillac introduced the first fin, which the advertising community highlighted within their great advertising campaigns, “Cadillac presents the new standard of the world.”

Another important factor in advertising after the war was television. This would change the playing field for marketing and selling automobiles.

1950s bring changes to Cadillac marketing, relationship with Boulevard Photographic

The 1950s brought more glamour, fashion and women buyers into purchasing new Cadillac vehicles. In 1956, Cadillac offered new colors that attracted more women buyers to the dealerships such as Princess Green, Duchess Green and Mountain Laurel, which was a very soft pink color along with Taupe. These were all popular colors manufactured for Cadillac in 1956.
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The years, 1953 to 1962, Cadillac advertised more female designers and fashion trends than any other car manufacturer in the United States. The year 1959, was also the year that the Cadillac tailfin rose to new heights in design.

The advertising featured many beautiful women along with the slogan “Take a lovely lady, place her at the wheel of a new Cadillac car and you have a delightful picture indeed.”

The 1960s to 1970s was a decade of change. Cadillac still held on to its great symbol of design, the 1963 and 1964 models were great looking automobiles and the advertising theme was “Sometimes when a man steps away from his Cadillac, he'll steal a glance back at the car in his life.”
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One of the most recognized Cadillac advertising images popular among historians and collectors would be the print for the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado (see image below). The headline stated, “Only one car can make a Cadillac owner look twice.” The advertising featured a man looking outside of his car window observing a 1967 Eldorado, and this became the most talked about and classic Cadillac advertising among historians even today.
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During the 1950s to 1970s, Cadillac automobiles were photographed by one of the best advertising agencies in the world in Boulevard Photographic.

In the mid-1950s, talented photographers Jimmy Northmore and Mickey MeGuire launched Boulevard Photographic to service Detroit's auto industry. They set about proving the power of automotive photography that was used to bring consumers into the showrooms to purchase new Cadillac automobiles. Boulevard Photographic was considered the best in the automotive industry.

In conclusion, Cadillac has always had a rich heritage along with many great milestones throughout its history. Cadillac advertising will always be a great part of our automotive history and heritage for generations to come.
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A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for contributing the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs are courtesy of Robert Tate's personal collection. (Bibliography: Mc Call M.P Walter. “80 Years Of Cadillac La Salle,” Crestline Publishing 1988; Hendry D. Maurice/Editors of Automobile Quarterly “Cadillac standard of the world The Complete history,” 1979; Williams, Jim. “Boulevard Photographic The art of automobile advertising,” 1997 )

For further information on photos please visit http://www.detroitpubliclibrary.org/ or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please do not republish the story and/or photographs without permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area.