Marketing 101 – Classic Buccaneer Outboard Ad Inspires A Lecture. Sorry.

Marshall McCluhan is quoted as saying that advertising / ads are the  “cave art of the 20th Century.” And if you dig into it, ads are no different than paintings on the ceilings of churches and so on. In simple terms, they can be a snap shot of the times. What is fascinating to me is that some are timeless messages, and the great ones are written and art directed by true artists that know how to capture emotion.

WAKE UP!  Almost done dribbling on… Those emotional ads are the best and sometimes the hardest to achieve. Companies pay to promote stuff that they believe sells, it’s actually rare that more enlightened companies understand that emotion, is what sells. Very rarely are the rational reasons that far different to feature. And always can be replicated. Okay, what in the hell does this diatribe on marketing have to do with Woody Boats?

Buccaneer also owned Lawn Boy Lawn mowers.

Well, this one ad I found hit me right between the eyes. brilliantly written, and the illustration is a masterpiece of communication. Yes, stylized for the 1950’s, but timeless. Further more knowing that it was targeted to my dads generation, even more powerful, that the same exact emotion of the need for a boat ride is so timeless. That deadlines and being late for meetings is timeless. Dad needed a break, and yes, so did mom. But she had bath time with some Calgon..

Yes, for the record, it’s snowing outside, and the chance of a boat ride has me doing stories like this, Maybe a bath in Calgon would help..

Calgon take me boating

The concept that Take time for Living, rather than working for a living is a timeless message, and an interesting Point Of View on how our planet lives. It’s been said, that on the east coast, “we live to work” and on the west coast, “we work to live.” Seems like a subtle difference, but actually explains life in the classic boat community. We work to go boating.  With this over explained, here are some more Bucanneer ads, which hit the spot.

Oh boy! Maybe not so timeless of a message

I need more than 12hp

Reverse was a thing.

A great headline about support and quality. Also if you look closely this photos was the photo used in the LIVING ad.

Not sure what this ad was trying to say! But this is what happens when your message is as vacuous as Quality…style…performance.

Cool art direction and different point of view

Ya, that MG was not the best car to show when trying to convey reliability

16 replies
  1. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Second on the use of that MGA in the ad for reliability comparison. I used to own one and those breakdown stories rival any I have from classic boating. Only differences: I can have more people on board with the boating breakdowns, and nothing on the boat is metric or Whitworth.

  2. Bill
    Bill says:

    Gale, Evinrude, Johnson and Sea King in the 50s and 60s all the same motor with a different hood for each brand

  3. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    Buccaneer! Our neighbor had a 5 when I was growing up. Always started 1st pull. Weather it sat all winter or 5min. Caught some good fish out of a rental boat powered by that motor on Long lake near Alpena Mi. The owners son still has it, and uses it sometimes. “Where does a pirate hide his Buccaneers? Under his buckin hat”

  4. JFKarlson
    JFKarlson says:

    On the North Coast here in Minnesota, we work to shovel out from yesterday’s 10″ of snow knowing that two more storms are lined up to the west—precipitating even more work. This builds character and makes summertime boating that much more precious.

  5. Michael B.
    Michael B. says:

    In the 60’s my uncle had a hardtop Wizard boat with “twin” 35hp’s. One was a Gale and the other was an Evinrude. He said they were the same under the cowl but they sure looked goofy together. As a kid I was facinated by the set of twin controls. As an adult I wouldn’t be able to handle ‘fraternal’ twins.

  6. Michael A. Hill
    Michael A. Hill says:

    Reverse really WAS a big deal….at one time, I had a 15 Lyman with a direct-drive Mercury Mark 40 (that i dubbed “the Antichrist) on it. Pull start that was ergonomically designed to tear your rotator-cuff on the forth or fifth pull. If that sucker fired, well, ready or not, you were going boating! Docking was a procedure that I called “Ram and Drift”. Eventually replaced that with a later 50’s vintage Evinrude with not only electric start, but a transmission with forward, neutral AND reverse!! Such luxury!!

  7. briant
    briant says:

    WAIT. STOP. Someone just stepped on the one good nerve I have remaining. MGs are great little cars. That little MGA could easily pull around a fishing boat with one of those Buccanner motors. I know of a few guys that even today with their restored MGAs haul around a trailer. My 65 MGB (yes I have had an MGA in my past too) has been 100% reliable over the 179,000 miles. Also, parts are incredibly inexpensive even today considering the car is over 50 years old. And I have even upgraded to Stage 1 and 2 on certain bits to make the car even better than original.

    Much of the bad reputation was not due to the quality of the British cars, but rather the idiot cheapskate American buyer. When a part was needed, most did not want to pay the $3.00 at the dealer for the correct part, but would instead wander down to the local auto parts store to blow a whole $1.35 on a part that “might to the same” job. I bought an MGB once that had the headlight portion of the wiring loom replaced with car stereo speaker wire. Talk about class A jackassery.

    And many folks love the cars….a nice MGA will easily run over $20K and even a 1962-74 MGB will fetch over $15K today.

    And they are strong as hell. I got t-boned by a medium sized SUV…I ended up flying all over the road, bounced off of a telephone pole and ended up in the roadside creek. I had merely a 1 cm long cut on my knee. oh waaa. The SUV driver was knocked clean out from the airbag and was a babbling mess afterwards. Both vehicle were totaled, but I went to work a few hours after getting checked out by the docs. The EMTs on scene were even shocked as we three stood there on the roadway, looking down on the smoldering remains of my MGB. Strong? Dats the fact, Jack.

    Instead of bashing MGs….maybe folks should be really bashing anything that was produced in the USA from 1970-1985.

    Except Mustangs. Those are just damn too cool. Everything else…crapola.

    Rant over.

    • Bilge Rat
      Bilge Rat says:

      Didn’t say the MGs were bad cars, they just have their share of interesting breakdown moments that required ingenuity to get in running shape again. I never beat on my cars nor demanded more that it was capable of. I know owners of old Porsches, BMWs and Triumphs with the same type stories. British engineering was a convoluted logic thing and not just in their terminologies. They required the owners to become mechanics or pay dearly at the dealerships. I had an MGB that I had a concrete wall type accident in and came away none the worse for wear. The car was repairable too. Like our wood boats, the factory designs were what was considered best practices at that time.

  8. RH In Indy
    RH In Indy says:

    I had a ‘65 and ‘66 MGB in the late ‘70’s.
    When they did break down, I usually had a girl with me. Wasn’t all bad.

  9. Ed S
    Ed S says:

    Post-1955, Buccaneers ( and most any of the other OMC/Gale knockoff labels were very good engines albeit with couple of shortcomings; most had piddily little built-in gas tanks that required frequent refilling and spillage – usually in the middle of the lake, their HP ratings and features – like suspension -were always couple of years behind their Johnson/Evinrude siblings, they were usually sold thru hardware stores or bait’n’tackle shops with limited service abilities and taking it to the Johnson/Ev dealers usually put you at the back of the line.

    Matt puzzled over the vagueness of the “Quality , style, performance” claim. If you were messing around in boats in the mid ’50s you would understand at least the claim to quality. There was an awful lot of junk being sold by OMC’s competitors back then and, as Mark in Ohio stated, the OMCs were most all one-pull start engines that always got you home.

    To second Michael Hill’s comment about reverse being a big deal, keep in mind that Mercury’s boss, Karl Kiekhaefer was fanatical about speed performance and chose to achieve a streamlined lower unit gear case by eliminating the bulky F-N-R gear cluster by having just a single bevel gear pair and having to stop and restart the ENTIRE ENGINE with every maneuvering shift. That is why the Mercury DR engines were referred to as Dock wReckers
    .As to that MGA, I’ll simply refer to the old bumper sticker that said “Parts Falling Off This Car Are Genuine English Quality”

  10. thomas d
    thomas d says:

    the wife doesn’t care to much for my outboards, told me yesterday she wanted her dining room table back. Elto Cub and water witch.

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