This article offers an in-depth, historical look at a notable company publication called the Ford Times to examine how the Ford Motor Company tied tourism, recreation, and civic values to corporate reputation in order to satisfy their public relations goals and build a buyer community. Ford Times was a successful customer publication in the postwar era and a source of travel information, adventure, and entertainment. The magazine can claim one of the largest total readerships in the history of company publications and boast readership comparable to popular mainstream magazines of the period, including Time and Colliers. [Another ‘Ford First?’, Acc 727, Box 5, PR National Ford, Dealers’ Council, Nov 1948, Ford First, 1.] By analysing historical archival material, including Ford Times content, editorial memos, and letters from readers, this study offers a unique, focused look at how the company attempted to use its magazine to construct a brand community, and in turn, to create a ‘view of America out the windshield’ that closely tied travel narratives and civic duties to corporate values and product purchases.
- Public relations