Formal Branding: The 2014 Chevrolet Impala

Ever since Hollywood immortalized the tailcoat and tuxedo as symbols of the good life in the 1930s, marketers have sought to impart their prestige onto a wide range of products and services. This ongoing series highlights some examples.


General Motors has redesigned the Impala to promote it from the rental and fleet market into the realm of affordable luxury vehicles.  Coinciding with the redesign is a comprehensive marketing campaign, “The company is reaching out to a better-educated, younger and more affluent buyer than purchased the late model,” says Marketing Daily. “The media strategy focuses on sports, news, travel and fine dining around a ‘Not Built, But Tailored’ theme.”

One of the campaign’s ads, seen in the November issue of Car and Driver, features the vehicle next to a surprisingly conventional tuxedo.  It’s impressive to see that the advertisers have opted to bypass the usual mainstream impression of formal attire consisting of gimmicky wing-collar shirts, juvenile pre-tied bow ties and pedestrian notched-lapel jackets.  Instead we are treated to a refined turndown collar shirt, self-tied bow tie and swank shawl collar.  The only significant departure from convention is the steel-blue colour of the suit but that hue actually harmonizes nicely with the colour of the depicted vehicle.


  1. Bob

    Very nice ! I have a couple old cadillacs, and my garage is decorated with vintage cadillac ads from the 1960’s. At that time Cadillac always chose to put thier cars in settings relating to the finer aspects of life. Gentlemen were usually shown in formal attire. Designer ball gowns and elbow length gloves were required for the ladies, of course paired with jewelry designed by a highbrow jeweler. The ad’s are really beautiful and sadly remind us how standards have declined in massive proportions.

  2. William Wright

    I have to admit that I like the fact the Chevy is finally using Black Tie for advertising. I mean, the Chevy emblem for years has been referred to as a bow tie and I guess that is partly why I prefer a bow tie for dressing up even without my tuxedo! Probably goes back to the first car I remember my dad driving was a 57 Impala, green in color an then progressing to a tan 1964 and a blue 1968 all Chevy Impala. Of course, the blue one caused my brother no end of grief. Point of order though is that finally the tuxedo with bow tie and Chevy are finally coming together to bring a 2014 Impala to the car buying public. A very good thing, especially if we could get the sales force in the Chevy showrooms to wear tuxedos to sell the car. And as to branding the formal things in life (finer that is) I agree with Bob; too many things have declined and one of them is dressing up. What would it take to get back that decent sense of dressing that our parents taught us? I don’t know, but I’m not going to become a jeans wearing person on the job or even at the Symphony, no matter what others might do.

    1. Peter Marshall

      Of course, the salesmen would only wear the tuxedos after six o’clock, right? 😉

      1. William Wright

        Absolutely! We can’t have them breaking the rules in this regard at a lll

        1. Duncan Pike

          I believe, if a salesman was in a morning coat, and then went to his office to change as the sun set, I would have to quote one Phillip J. Fry.

  3. A. R

    I am shocked to find myself *almost* accepting this ad, because unlike so many others, it actually manages to present a product that could be seen to have the same elegant simplicity that makes the dinner jacket so timeless.

    1. CharlesM

      I agree, but no matter the presentation, so long as it remains a “Chevy” (or a “Caddy” for that matter), elegance will remain elusive.

      One wonders why the same era that offered the most elegant dinner clothes (male and female) also offered the most elegant automobiles.


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