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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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July 2010 Issue
 
ARTICLE
Press Kits
By Robert McLellan
 
 

Technology changes so rapidly that one good thing after another disappears only to be replaced with something new. The auto industry media demands rapid transmission of information from the auto industry to the public. The collector of car literature is being by-passed, making the paper form of literature and press kits rarer and more valuable.

Prior to the mid-1990s, press kits were not much more than folders or notebooks with a few printed pages of text and some black and white photographs. Then came the golden era of press kits prior to their recent demise into CD-ROMs and requests to download information off the company's media web site.

Beginning in the 1990s, press kits became more and more spectacular until the mid-2000s. Innovative packaging and elaborate on-stage presentations at auto shows were the norm as each company tried to upstage its competitors. Most press kits came with color photographs and color slides. Others included model cars or some memorabilia. The objective of course, was to get the journalists' attention and to give them something memorable to place on their office desk or bookshelf that said, "Remember us. We gave you a good time and a nice gift. Now give us favorable press coverage."

The unintended consequence was that literature collectors descended on the auto shows in droves and soon outnumbered the media. The "darling" of the interlopers was eBay. Often press kits could be found listed for bid on the same day as the press conferences at astounding prices. High prices then, but reasonable to low prices now, these press kits are becoming harder to find as they attain higher collectible value. They have become good investments as collectors age and become nostalgic about the 1990s.

 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, July 2010
 
 
 
 
 
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