André Citroën: A visionary who understood Advertising just as well as Cars
A look at André Citroën – the man who defined automobile advertising with his bold vision & magnificent foresight.
The name Citroën took over Paris in a remarkable feat when its founder André Citroën rented Eiffel Tower in all its glory & entirety to display the name of the brand. With each letter measuring over a 100 feet high, the sight of Citroën dazzling through Paris was one to behold & continued to do so for nine years. Now, you might wonder that advertising on architectural monuments isn’t unheard of — what if we told you this outdoor advertising marvel was executed in 1925!
Yes, André Citroën rented the Eiffel Tower back in 1925 to advertise the brand & the ad holds The Guinness Book of World Record as the world’s largest ad.
André Citroën — a name that not only revolutionized the automobile industry but also laid the foundation of Auto Advertising as we know it today. Bold, edgy, and way ahead of his time, André Citroën managed to make Citroën cars a global phenomenon. Right from advertising on the Parisian monument to creating merchandise of his cars, Citroën is credited with many advertising marvels.
In his book, 100 Years of Advertising, advertising legend, Jacques Séguéla says, “André Citroën invented almost all forms of advertising: promotion, credit, PR, events, publicity cars, rallies, not to mention the first car ad, the first female ad and the first aerial advertising. He wanted the first three words spoken by every child to be “Daddy, Mommy, car”. The public will change its slogan into “Daddy, Mommy, Citroën”. Is there a more beautiful tribute to a brand?”
Citroën was a visionary who understood the true potential of advertising & what it can achieve. This combined with sheer gut & grit, made Citroën automobile ads truly unique.
Yet another classic, was the royal poster created for the regal Traction, designed and launched in 1938. With the right hues, angle, and appearance, the poster captured the suave austerity of the automobile.
Communicating with them while they’re young, the brand often found representation in comics. Famous Belgian cartoon character, Sophie had an awe-inspiring adventure with Citroen’s 10 HP back in 1981. In 1949, Citroen 2CV was a part of a Tintin comic, as the favourite reporter was going through an experience of a lifetime at Marlinspike Hall.
André Citroën time and again pushed the boundaries, achieving results one couldn’t have anticipated. For instance, the man created toy models of the Citroën 5HP, achieving a showcase at toy shops across the country and sold thousands of toy cars to children, making Citroën a household name.
Today, as the world reels from the clutches of a global crisis, André Citroën’s work serves as the much-needed motivation, reiterating that one idea can change the world we live in. That one Advertisement can make or break a brand. That one act of courage can enable you to rewrite history. With his brilliant ideas, André Citroën achieved what brands till date strive to acquire — attention, acquisition, and intent.