Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1955: A Goodyear for Trucks

While Goodyear regularly advertised its automobile tires throughout the 40's and 50's, the bulk of their ads failed to impress me. They usually employed (inferior) photography or were very spare on visuals - often showing just the product and a lot of copy.

But in 1955 Goodyear launched a truck tire campaign in The Saturday Evening Post that really packed a punch.

While the unsigned ad above focuses more on encouraging the public to lobby the government to build more roads (more roads + more cars and trucks = more tires sold), the ads I really enjoy are these below, also unsigned but almost certainly done by one of my favourite illustrators; Rudy Pott.

Pott was the perfect choice for this series, which has a sort of "day in the life of a truck driver" theme.

Not only do these ads show off Pott's unquestionable technical abilities, they impress because the artist shows us such a wide range of everyman characters without that over-idealization so typical in 1950's illustration (especially when its advertising art).

Pott's work is not quite reportage... not a gritty realism (we are, afterall, trying to sell tires here) but his people have a comfortable credibility that makes it easy to relate to and like them. They seem like good, honest, hard working reg'lar folks.

I've added these images to my Rudy Pott Flickr set. Take a little while to look at the largest size versions of these pieces so you can take in more than the snippets I cropped out for you here.


  1. I agree with you about the honesty of the people he draws. The one illo in the diner is just terrific. All of these echo back to a time when there was real optimism in this country.
    Wonderful stuff. And I have to add, that top soil mover in the first picture seems to have been inspiration for the new Batmobile. Ha.

  2. Thanks Ron; I'm glad you see the same quality in Pott's work that I do. The copy in the top ad is a great example of that optimism you speak of... no hint of the inevitable sprawl and pollution that will result from the course of action Goodyear is pushing.

    For the time being, all was right in the world and full speed ahead!

  3. Thanks for the great blog!
    It truly is my daily inspiration.

  4. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Hi, bought a painting used in a 1944 ad for Goodyear airfoam. Trying to learn something about this illustrator. The ad can be seen here - I have the three-foot by two-foot painting.
    Shaune MacKinlay in Halifax

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