On October 31, 1901, Packard published its new Slogan for the first time. Ask The Man Who Owns One was one of the all-time great ad lines; so good, in fact, that it lasted for decades. In our present environment it would need to read: Ask The Person Who Owns One… politically correct, maybe, but lacking in authority. The implication, of course, was that endorsement by an existing owner is the best advertising and that still holds true. Buick also had a long-lasting slogan that suggested When Better Cars Are Built, Buick Will Build Them. After looking at today’s Buicks I’d be inclined to add “and we’re still waiting.” During my years as an ad agency creative director I wrote several memorable headlines but wasn’t impressed by slogans (tag lines, they call them now) unless they literally fell out of the ad copy. Forced lines were rarely successful but you’d be surprised how many clients insisted on them. The Packard in our photo, taken at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours, features a custom body by Darrin. I couldn’t resist including the gentleman in this shot, for he looks as though he’s the man in Ask the Man Who Owns One.
October 31st, 2006