Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Darkness Sells

Two magazine ads of the 1940s from Texaco in which fear of darkness is exploited to sell the product. The lone red star of Texaco glows in the night sky promising security and mobility to the grateful traveller. Movie houses and drive-ins were showing a succession of film noirs in which the highway at night was Hollywood’s theatre of cruelty, a place where over-sized hands would rear up from the back seat and grip the victim’s throat or a stranger’s car might run you off the road into a deep ravine. Lost souls lurked in the shadows and death was an ever-present reality after the sun set on the great American highway. A trusted brand like Texaco brought much needed reassurance to the nervous and vulnerable motorist for whom the darkness concealed the most unfathomable terrors.

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