Talk about the ultimate throwback! It’s been nearly 60 years since Linus, Pigpen, and Snoopy from the classic Peanuts cartoon took us on a journey with the 1961 Ford Falcon. This blast from the past was a huge success for Ford in the early 1960s.
At the time, the Ford Falcon was the most popular compact car in America. The television marketing campaign featuring Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters was just as popular. During the 1950s, the major American car companies focused on larger luxury sedans that offered a higher profit margin, so the compact car market was ripe for the taking in the early ’60s, as most families were looking for a second car. The Falcon was small with only 95 horsepower and a 2.4 L straight-6 engine and a single-barrel carburetor, but that didn’t stop families from buying it!
Maybe Charlie Brown’s friends and his lovable dog had just a little something to do with that.
Nowadays, using cartoon characters to sell cars probably may seem a little bit hokey, but back in the ’60 and ’70s, it was all the rage. Whether it was Looney Tunes, Peanuts, or anything else that was popular at the time, the familiar animated characters made for pretty darn good salesmen.
That’s not to say that Ford, Chrysler, or General Motors still don’t use gimmicks like that today. But, with auto companies having much deeper pockets, and technology being a lot better now than it was a half-century ago, manufacturers can go much more over-the-top with their ads. Heck, just watch the Super Bowl. Some of these TV spots look more like big-budget Hollywood blockbusters than advertisements.
Of course, these new commercials are all well and good. But, sometimes, it’s great to look back on and appreciate the classics.
This post was originally published on April 8, 2019.