1950's: Automobile Advertising in the Decade Of Mass Consumption
Driven by consumerism, suburban expansion and a population surge fueled by the post war baby boom, the 1950's saw unprecedented growth in manufacturing. Supply shortages as a result of the war were no longer a hindrance and the newly opened flood gates, along with a booming economy, unleashed massive demand for products such as TVs, home appliances and most of all, automobiles.
Registered automobiles went from 25 million in 1950 to 67 million in 1958 and by the end of the 1950's one in six working Americans was employed in the automobile industry. Automobiles transformed from a means of transportation to an extension of self. New, futuristic designs boasted large tailfins, excessive chrome, wrap around windshields and pronounced hood emblems. Automobile advertising in the 1950's coupled this new and futuristic school of automobile design with portrayals of a modern family still rooted in traditional family values. We have compiled 20 of our favorite automobile advertisements from this time period.