Monday, October 22, 2007

Crosley Pomotional Stunts

When Powel Crosley, Jr. was working for auto dealer Carl Graham Fisher in Indianapolis in the early 1900s, he was exposed to some ideas and attitudes about promotion that stuck with him for the rest of his life. Fisher, a bicycle dealer who expanded into automobiles and became one of the country’s largest auto agencies, was famous for doing things like pushing a car from the top of a three-story building to the street below, then driving it away. In another stunt, he floated a car across Indianapolis on a balloon. Eventually, he stunted his way into history as the driving force behind the Lincoln Highway, the Dixie Highway, the Indiapolis Motor Speedway, and the development of Miami Beach. (For more info on Fisher, see this biography: The Pacesetter, by Jerry Fisher.)

Decades later, Crosley was pulling similar stunts to draw attention to his products. Some are detailed in CROSLEY, but most aren't. For example, in the 1920s Crosley bought and rented aircraft to perform “special deliveries” of the latest Crosley radio sets to dealers around the country (in small quantities, of course). The airplanes were bannered -C-R-O-S-L-E-Y- on wings and fuselages, and when newspapers flocked to the photo opportunities Crosley got the free publicity he was after. And in 1947 when Cincinnati’s Terrace Plaza Hotel was being completed, he arranged for a Crosley pickup truck carrying an American flag to be hoisted 19 stories to the top of the building, where the flag was transferred to a flagpole. Crosley also set up less-dramatic stunts, such as the double-parked 1947 Crosleys shown in the accompanying photo, the cop scratching his head over how or if he should ticket a cars for sharing a space.
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks

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