Monday June 26, 2017
Quite simply, these are ten of my favourite adverts, in alphabetical order, for one of Britain’s most famous car marques. After all, ‘Triumph put in what the others leave out’.
After over 35 years, I’d quite forgotten how much the music in this advert resembled the sound effects in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy. In 1981, five-speed transmission, headlamp washers and a ‘ski hatch’ in the rear seat were real selling points on a small British car and although the slogan ‘Totally Equipped to Triumph’ sounds faintly immodest, the Acclaim was a major step forward for BL.
After seeing the GT6 in action, who would not rush down to their local Triumph showroom to put a deposit on the fastback ‘with big six-cylinder power’. As for the ‘disc brakes’ and a ‘four-speed stick shift’, these were definitely out of the ordinary to any motorist who was used to a six-seater sedan of that era.
HERALD – AUSTRALIA
A BBC style voiceover explains how the Herald needs a ‘mere 35 inches clearance’ to park between a Standard Vanguard Ute and a Vanguard saloon, as well as pointing out the adjustable steering and the seats ‘that can be set in 36 different positions’. Of course, there is the 25-feet turning circle that was also demonstrated.
HERALD – UK
‘Pearl & Dean’ – a name forever associated with warnings about the ‘the non-smoking side of the auditorium’, choc ices and promotions for eateries that were only ‘five minutes from this cinema’. This Herald promotion is one of their masterpieces, even if all car thieves are advised not to carefully manoeuvre between a pair of police Wolseleys.
A magnificently 1970s commercial aimed at the Spitfire’s crucial US market. The Carry On films did not enjoy major success in the States but judging by the storyline in this ad, it would appear that at least one person in the marketing team had seen Camping.
TOLEDO & DOLOMITE SPRINT
If you told anyone watching this promotional film for the Triumph range that the marque would disappear from new cars in 12 years’ time, you would have been laughed at. When This Is Triumph was commissioned, the company was one of the lynchpins of the British Leyland Empire and the UK equivalent of BMW and Alfa Romeo. Several models are showcased, including Stags, Toldeos on the production line and, quite fantastically, an array of new Dolomite Sprints awaiting the attentions of the motoring press.
Another promotion to hail from the other side of the pond and a quite brilliant one, with the script disdaining pseudo-performance cars with their ‘bucket seats’ and ‘flashy wheels’. No, for all proto-Don Drapers the TR4A is ‘the McCoy’ that ‘lets you know what a real sports car is all about’. As with the GT6 ad, the close-up of the gear lever is a reminder that by 1966 not a few US drivers had little or no experience of cars with manual transmission.
TR6 – US
Two contrasting approaches to selling the TR6. In the USA, it was targeted to drivers who thought themselves so macho that they could leap through flames without any qualms and provides a splendid opportunity to hear the 2.5-litre engine in action.
TR6 - UK
In this cinema advert, the emphasis is less on race-style motoring and more on floral hats, knitwear and witty performances. It is good to see a 1500 saloon in the background while the gentleman in the Roadster is Guy Middleton, a splendid character actor of 1940s British films who appeared in several Triumph promotions towards the end of his career.
‘More like flying than driving’ claims the announcer, as Shaft style funk music plays in the background. The TR7’s distinctive profile is shown off to excellent purpose and the urban footage illustrates just how different the Triumph looked in comparison with the average Detroit family saloon of the late 1970s.