Today’s sales incentives are a joke compared to 1962’s free pony with a new Chevy
In the long history of car sales, dealers have attempted all manner of gimmicks to get new buyers into the showroom and out the door with a new set of wheels. Lottery contests, rebates, all types of giveaways, and more. We thought we had seen it all until an we saw this ad from 1962: a free Shetland Pony to the first 25 buyers of a new Chevrolet.
That’s right, Phoenix-based Fletcher Jones Chevrolet jumped straight to the real decision makers of any household—the kids. Large text encouraged kids to tell their parents about the deal. The full-page ad we found provides no clues to where or how the marketing was done, so there might be a chance it is came from a publication whose main readers were pony enthusiasts. Or something.
The special deal was part of Fletcher Jones Chevrolet’s bonanza roundup sale. Just three days in 1962 presented the chance to take home a Shetland pony after you—yes—ponied up for a new 1962 Chevrolet full-size car, the smaller Chevy II, or economy Corvair. How you got your new horse home was seemingly up to you (we would have loved to see someone try to wedge a pony in a Chevy II).
Of course, even in the ’60s there was legal language involved. Should you decide that your lifestyle was not befitting of horse ownership, the option of “equivalent cash discount” was available. We have a sneaking suspicion that was a more popular option, much to the disappointment of many young Arizonan pony lovers. But hey, a new Chevy beats hoofin’ it home.