No advertising campaign can save the Plymouth brand now. After a steady sales decline, DaimlerChrysler announced in November that the 73-year-old brand will become automotive history by the 2001 model year.
One of the best ad campaigns to come out of the division was for the new 1957 models, introduced in the fall of 1956.
Plymouth was struggling for identity at the time. Thus the new 1957 Plymouth line, consisting of the Belvedere, Savoy and Plaza models, along with a special limited-production Fury hardtop, were sensationally styled, introducing exaggerated and very provocative rear tail fins.
Jack Minor, the newly appointed general sales manager of the division, along with his new marketing manager, Lou Hagopian, wanted an equally sensational new ad campaign from their agency, N.W. Ayer & Co.
Three days before the deadline, Minor rejected the proposed campaign, concluding it was too ordinary. He gave the agency a weekend to come back with something more memorable - something to match the futuristic look of the cars.
N.W. Ayer creatives went underground in a downtown Detroit hotel for a marathon weekend session. As is often the case, out of adversity sometimes comes the most creative work.
Beleaguered and exhausted from their weekend ordeal, the agency team arrived Monday morning to present a campaign theme that not only satisfied the client, but went on to communicate magnificently with the Plymouth buyer, enabling the division to enjoy sales of 595,503 during 1957, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.
The ads succeeded by boldly playing up the low, sleek lines of the new models, showing gold coupes in profile.
The new ad theme played up the futuristic styling of Plymouth's 1957 models: 'Suddenly it's 1960.'