General Motors Holden: Proved Dependability
A General Motors Holden representative directly addresses the viewer. He describes the broad range of Holden owners throughout Australia, accompanied by footage of a Holden vehicle driving through a suburban street. He uses a blackboard to illustrate that Holden’s 'proved dependability’ comes from three key points: its six cylinder engine, rugged transmission and 'aerobilt body’ (with body and chassis combined in one solid steel unit, loads and stresses are distributed as in 'modern aircraft’).
To support each point, he reads out letters from satisfied Holden owners, beginning with Mr H Pearce from Melbourne. Rugged transmission is corroborated by a letter from Mr K Roach from Liverpool South, NSW, and footage of a family getting into a Holden outside a train station. A final letter, from Mr AG Millgate of Coonamble in NSW, praises Holden’s 'aerobilt construction’ and is accompanied by footage of a car driving along a muddy, unmade road and atop a mountain lookout. The GMH representative summarises the key points from the advertisement over a shot of a car driving up to a house. It concludes with the slogan 'Holden – Australia’s Own Car’.
The GMH representative in this clip was familiar to audiences of the time from previous ads. Standing in his office in front of a blackboard, he functions as an expert and authoritative voice. Unlike earlier advertisements, an inventory of features is no longer enough to persuade people to trust the Holden brand. To illustrate the three factors behind Holden’s dependability, he reads letters from Holden owners. Identifying each writer by name and location individualises their experiences and lends believability to their stories. It is impossible to know whether the letters were actual responses from Holden owners or were created for the ad. Regardless of their authenticity, personal testimony is cleverly used to strengthen audience identification and ground the claim of 'proved dependability’ in everyday experience. This technique is still used in advertising today, most notably in advertorials and infomercials which are built around a string of individual testimonials supporting a central claim.