Selling Ford during WWII
The present lot is a painting completed by Gil Elvgren in 1944 for the advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson Company. The painting, an original presentation board, features a crystal ball and inside a proud man driving a car next to a beautiful woman waving. The illustration was for one of the agency’s earliest and most successful advertising campaigns for Ford Motor Company—There’s a Ford in your Future. The campaign slogan was devised as a way to address the shortage of automobiles as resources were allocated to the war efforts. Through use of the crystal ball, the campaign cleverly looked into the future to a time of peace when all American families could own a car.
The campaign lasted a couple of years and the creative did change over time. The earliest incarnation of the advertisement simply included a crystal ball with the Ford logo in the center. This was followed up just a couple months later with Elvgren’s happy and proud couple alongside the words, “Sure you’ll be proud of it!” The advertisements were a success and marked the beginning of a 67 year partnership between J. Walter Thompson Company and Ford.