Monday, April 13, 2009

Birthday Jeep

The year I was born, Willy began advertising its military Jeep* to Americans on the home front. Like a lot of other US companies, the car-maker (and major supplier to the armed forces) wanted to begin creating a brand that went beyond war fronts all over the world…to the one society left on the planet whose future, at that instant, looked brightest.

That’s the future I was born into. And the “classic” Jeep is the first motor vehicle I can remember my daddy, Paul Baron, owning. Sometime after he returned to Atlanta from overseas service with the US Army Air Corps, he acquired a war-surplus CJ-2A Jeep. (Not a new one – that’s to laugh.)

I barely recall it – I spent that period of my life tucked in a wooden box nestled between the Jeep’s two front seats when my daddy and momma drove it to the Piedmont Drive-In Theater on Friday nights.

It wasn’t our last Jeep either. The family owned a couple of Willys Jeep Station Wagons until daddy settled on Chevy as the family brand. When I turned 16, the first car daddy bought me was a well-used 1949 Willys Jeepster, bright yellow…the canvas top hardly leaked at all. He spent more than he intended, but it was (I hope) worth it. I wonder if my sister Evalyn remembers that one?

One line of copy in that Jeep ad up top says, “Soon, Willys dealers will be showing the Universal Jeep. When you see it, you can envision the many, many ways it will serve mankind.”

As a birthday memory, it continues to serve. Thanks, daddy.

*A lot of companies produced “Jeeps” originally. Willys-Overland acquired the trademark for itself in 1950 – read all about it here.

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

For all the ad people out there - think of this ad as a mid-century example of brand adoption.