Ahhh, a nice, leisurely drive in the countryside... what could be better than that?
What's that you say? A nice, leisurely drive in the countryside in a Pierce-Arrow automobile?? Now you're talkin'!
For today's blog entry, I felt inspired to count down my picks for the top ten Pierce-Arrow automobile ads of 1910 to 1915.
So buckle up your seat belts and let's go!
5.) Pierce-Arrow Touring Car at the Meet (1912): Many car ads of this period have a paragraph of text at the bottom describing the car and its benefits, which means this ad is nothing too special, but it's still visually appealing because of its intrepid use of white space. It not only defines what is supposed to be looked at and arranges it all in a logical way, but it also serves to further emphasize the colorful image towards the top.
4.) The Pierce-Arrow is Always on Time (1915): The paragraph in the center of this ad extols the efficiency and timeliness of the Pierce-Arrow, but it's the highly nuanced visuals surrounding this paragraph that subtly and beautifully drive the point home. You not only see the car with its passenger and chauffeur chatting pleasantly at bottom, but, in the panels on either side, you see the same passenger in a restaurant and at a meeting. This guy is getting around, all thanks to his trusty Pierce-Arrow. To further emphasize the "getting around" part, we also see a small icon of an ocean liner at the top of the left panel, and that of a steam locomotive at the top of the right.
3.) The Pierce-Arrow (1910): This ad is like many other Pierce-Arrow ads of this period in that it's going for a more dramatic approach. Not only is the car beautifully showcased, but its lighting, angle, and cloudy backdrop all make for a powerful image. Likely one that would appeal to a consumer who wants a Pierce-Arrow for status.
2.) The Pierce-Arrow at the New Theatre (1910): I have to admit to being just a bit biased here. The image of the brightly lit street and the people in their finery tugs at my heart strings because it reminds me of the nights I went to the opera with my parents as a young man. Still one of my best memories.
But as far as a more objective look at it, I would say the use of color is definitely very effective, especially when it's being used to depict a scene such as this. To achieve that glowing, magical look is no small feat, and the colors that are used can make or break the effect. Yet, as we can see here, the artist does this with aplomb.
Aside from the challenging use of color and lighting, the composition is also well done. The main focal point is, of course, the finely dressed people milling about on the sidewalk with the cars ambling alongside them, but besides this, the upper part of the building (where nothing else seems to be going on) is the perfect place to put the other important focal point: the typography that tells us exactly what car is being advertised. I also appreciate that the typography is aligned to one side instead of centered, which creates a sense of balance in the composition.
1.) The Pierce-Arrow at the Aviation Meet (1911): Just as with number 3 above, this image is also a dramatic and powerful one, but while number 3 relies on light, backdrop, and angle, this one only makes use of angle to create the same striking appearance. There's also a level of intrigue stemming from the fact that the passengers are right up against the right side of the image, pointing and looking through binoculars at a spectacle that isn't shown. I find this interesting because it almost seems to convey a sense of exclusivity. We don't see the aviation displays that they're watching, simply because we're not supposed to see them. If you want in, it suggests, take your status to the next level and get yourself a Pierce-Arrow. (Smooth marketing, Johnny!)
And that's it for today, except to make brief mention of one thing: if you liked these ads, we have a couple of beautifully restored Pierce-Arrow ads in our art print catalog.
Do you agree with this list? Which Pierce-Arrow ads do you like the best? As always, please let me know in the comments. I look forward to our chat.