This clip chosen to be G
A cut-out picture of the Overland Whippet is accompanied by a caption describing it as ‘America’s first high-speed European-type light car’. The Whippet car lines up with a whippet dog to demonstrate its speed; a large stopwatch shows the car accelerate from five to 30 miles per hour in 13 seconds; and a silhouette displays its 'distinctly attractive low-swung’ construction. A live-action shot of a family seated inside a stationary Whippet concludes the clip.
This clip comes from a seven-minute advertisement for the Overland Whippet motor vehicle. To make it desirable for audiences, the ad emphasises the Whippet’s getaway power, fast acceleration, compact design and interior space. These attributes are demonstrated by simple graphics of the interior and exterior of the car. Captions support the diagrams and explain the benefits of each feature (for example, ‘lighter weight brings greater economy’). The sparing use of live-action segments punctuates the animation and underlines the car’s modern appearance.
This silent black-and-white clip shows an advertisement designed for Australian audiences for the US Overland Whippet car, with animation illustrating its economy, speed, ease of parking and comfort. White captions on a black background describe each feature, and drawn and cut-out animations with some live-action shots show the features in action. The new low-slung shape of the vehicle is shown by cutting away the traditional outline. An animated oil can moving down a map of Australia’s south-eastern coast illustrates the car’s economical oil use.
Educational value points
- The clip shows how animation can be used to convey information economically and create a persuasive argument to ‘sell’ a product. The new car combines a compact yet roomy body with a low centre of gravity. This is graphically shown in an animation in which parts of the old bulkier car body are stripped away from a silhouette to reveal the new sleek form of the Overland Whippet. An ‘X-ray’ graphic shows the driver and passenger seated comfortably inside.
- The advertisement uses different styles of animation and some live action sequences to communicate its messages, and captions introduce and reinforce the messages of the illustrations. Cut-out and drawn animations are combined to demonstrate simply the car’s speed, comfort, ease of parking and economy. Live action is used sparingly, as in the closing sequence where a family seated in the car smile at the camera.
- The advertisement links features of the car with features of its namesake, the whippet – a light and speedy breed of dog. One scene shows a whippet and the car standing together at the beginning of a race, and a caption above the car reads: ‘IT HAS THE GET-A-WAY OF A WHIPPET.’ Salesmen were urged to emphasise the car’s whippet-like features: its speed, lightness and sleek style.
- In the mid-1920s production-line techniques were making cars more affordable and car ownership in Australia was increasing. The advertisement appeals to the mass market by emphasising the economy of the Whippet. When cars first appeared in Australian cities in 1900 they were luxury items for only the wealthiest. In 1920 there was one car for every 55 people in Australia; by 1929 this had increased to one for every 11 people.
- The importance of the export market to automobile manufacturing in the 1920s is revealed in the clip. Willys-Overland began producing the Whippet in May 1926 and in September the car was released in Australia. It competed successfully with the hugely popular Ford Model T car in Australia and was promoted as a reasonably priced but rugged car that could cope with outback travel. The cars were manufactured in Canada and shipped to an assembly plant in Brisbane.
- The car featured in the clip had a brief but successful sales history – 110,000 cars were sold in 1926, the year that it was released, and in 1928 it was in third place in sales behind cars made by Ford and Chevrolet. The Whippet was successfully exported to a number of countries including Australia. Whippet production ended in 1931, the Willys-Overland company having suffered badly from the 1929 Wall Street crash and the subsequent Great Depression.
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