This Alcoa ad, which appeared in April 2, 1960 edition of The New Yorker, proves the point that they don’t write ’em like they used to. Not a value judgement, just an observation. Our age is too cynical for such flights of poetic fancy. We obsess over the Mad Men depiction of that era, but this is the real deal, the kind of ads those mad, closet-poet ad men were actually churning out way back then. Take a closer look at this inspired ad copy:
Drive doughtily to salty Fort Lauderdale…(Falcon’s grille is aluminum)
Let it rain, let it snow, let salted streets splash and briny breezes blow! Corrosion’s passé with the aluminum grille and brightwork of your new Ford Falcon. Anodizing is the reason–an Alcoa process that makes aluminum sapphire-hard and sapphire bright. To preserve this royal sparkle year after shining year, merely wash down occasionally with plebeian soap and water.
Elsewhere in the Falcon–in engine and transmission, to be precise–strong Alcoa Aluminum alloys trim off the pounds while adding speed and mileage. Look for aluminum in your next car. Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh 19, Pa.
Alcoa Aluminum…for lasting Gleam and Go!
Obviously, whoever wrote this was a poet, trying to make ends meet as an adman by day. It’s also likely that this anonymous scribe (or, likely, team of scribes) never set foot in a South LA sweatshop that actually anodized aluminum (I have), or his metaphors might have tended more toward Dante than Tiffany. And in case you were wondering, doughtily is the adverb form of doughty, pronounced “dou-tee,” meaning brave, bold, intrepid, fearless, dauntless. Not a common word today, and perhaps no more common in 1960, but what a great rhetorical flourish to combine it with “drive,” “salty,” and “Fort Lauderdale”–to create this poetic gem of a headline: Drive doughtily to salty Fort Lauderdale… Now that’s copywriting with lasting Gleam and Go!