Marketing Material: 1988 General Motors Technology Ad
Sometime in 1988
The reason the word “sometime” is in the subheading above is because I’m not sure exactly when, or even where, this eight-page ad came from. My mother actually found it while going through some of my old high school papers from 1988/1989.
I had apparently removed the ad from a magazine and saved it but there is no indication as to its origin. It’s a pretty neat ad, however, so I thought I’d share it.
Descriptions of advancements and promises of change
The ad opens on the first page with a quoted list of challenges and the proclamation that they’d been met and the results “are here today.”
The following six pages are dedicated to GM’s individual core brands of the time (Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chevrolet and GMC Truck), with the closing page mentioning the yet-to-be introduced Saturn brand.
The subtext on Cadillac’s page, shown to the left, states, “America’s luxury car leader for 39 consecutive years. Renowned for comfort, convenience and sophisticated performance, resulting in an unsurpassed ownership experience.”
It provides an image of the Allante, Eldorado and Voyage concept sedan. The concept is described as being a “rolling laboratory” of advanced concepts, including a 275 HP version of the brand’s 4.5-liter V-8, rear-view video system and navigation.
Buick’s page states, “There’s substance here, in the design, the ride, the power. It’s classic, it’s timeless… the Premium American Motor Car.”
This page shows the Regal, two-seat Reatta and the Lucerne concept coupe. The Lucerne is described as a touring car with smooth, muscular grace equipped with four-wheel independent suspension and 17-inch wheels which create the powerful distinction of Buick.
Oldsmobile’s page states, “Recognized for engineering excellence and advanced technology, Oldsmobile offers a range of fine cars noted for their quality, design, value and driving satisfaction.”
The three Oldsmobile’s pictured are the Cutlass Supreme coupe, cutlass Calais coupe and the Aerotech concept car. The Aerotech laid claim to the world’s closed-course land speed record of 257.123 MPH.
Pontiac’s text is somewhat predictable stating, “The word here is excitement, with new highs in performance and roadability. As ever, the most sporty, fun-to-drive cars being made in America.”
The images are of the Grand Prix coupe (Motor Trend’s 1988 Car of the Year), Bonneville SSE (a personal favorite) and the Banshee concept (forerunner to the next-generation Firebird/Trans Am). The Banshee is described thus, “Innovative styling and engineering combine into excitement with an all-aluminum monoblock V-8 engine and 5-speed transmission for outstanding roadability.” “Roadability” seems to have been a phrase Pontiac enjoyed using.
Chevrolet’s text used a slogan that I think is once again ready for prime time, “The heartbeat of America. It’s mainstream U.S.A., long on value and short on pretense. Forever young and on top of that–it’s just plain fun.”
Chevrolet chose to display its Beretta, a Sportside full-sized 4×4 pickup and the Venture concept car.
The Venture’s description states, “Its daring, all-glass upper structure automatically darkens, and a fun-to-drive 3.1-liter V-6 powertrain exudes the character of Chevrolet cars.”
Still officially sporting the word “truck” after the GMC acronym in its name, GM’s truck division marketed itself as, “Not just a truck anymore. A revolution in design and manufacturing has given birth to the finest trucks GMC has ever built.”
The images are of the “all new” Sierra, the S-15 Jimmy and the Centaur concept. The Centaur is described as, “4-wheel drive and 4-wheel steering. Automotive styling and the workhorse utility of a pickup truck in a single vehicle.” I think a write-up on the fascinating Centaur concept is in order.
The eight-page ad closes with a summary of GM’s commitment to teamwork and technology. There is also a mention of the upcoming Saturn brand.
The ad closes with, “The job is not yet finished–there’s more to be done. But today, the people of GM can proudly say–the vision is paying off.”
There are larger versions of the ad’s pages in the gallery.
Continue below to the photo gallery.