Despite punching way above its weight in terms of how it handled, early advertising for the Minor did nothing to extol its virtues or indeed encourage buyers at all for that matter. Instead, in line with the post-war ethos of ‘export or die’ and in order to help Britain’s balance of payments, Morris chose to emphasise its unavailability in a launch advert that stated “priority must be given to export orders at the present”.
An advert heralding the arrival of the new overhead valve engine (1952) was similarly flawed. Featuring a uniformed gent and repeating the mantra: “At present available for export only” it was a pretty rubbish sales pitch!
The export theme was even continued for the launch of the Minor 1000 in a 1956 advert that featured a pair of Minors parked by the dockside accompanying the somewhat nondescript statement ‘Now better than ever’.
At least in another advert Morris went big on the Minor’s increase in power, while reinforcing the notion that the increase in engine size wouldn’t compromise economy. Indeed, the Minor’s versatility and value were to play a key role in subsequent advertising material.
By the swinging ‘Sixties, it seems the penny had finally dropped and Morris was happy to celebrate its product and the success it had achieved, when it rightly referred to the Minor as “Britain’s most successful car”. Certainly lots of Minors were sold, but it was no thanks to the way it was marketed!