Weird Advertising for a Weird Car: Balloon-Wheeled Citroen DS, 1959 – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

Weird Advertising for a Weird Car: Balloon-Wheeled Citroen DS, 1959

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Back in 1959, Citroen’s communication department was on a mission to prove to the world that their ID and DS models were in a league of their own. And what better way to do that than to take a car, perch it on four balloons, and float it in the middle of a lake? It’s like they always say: “When you want to showcase comfort, just combine air and water and hope for the best!”

h/t: vintag.es

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But seriously, this promotional Citroen was a stroke of genius. By highlighting the hydropneumatic suspension – a fancy way of saying “it’s got some really cool shocks” – the ID and DS stood out from the crowd. And if you’re wondering what the heck hydropneumatic means, it’s basically a suspension system made of four spheres that use a combination of gas and fluid to make the ride super smooth. It’s like riding on a cloud, but with wheels.

The balloon sculpture, which looked like both the ID and DS models, was painted in the same “Blonde Ecaille” color as Paul Coltelloni’s ID #176, which won the Monte Carlo rally in 1959. Because apparently, winning a car race is the ultimate way to prove that your car has great shocks.

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And just in case you were wondering how they managed to get a car floating on balloons in the middle of a lake, the answer is stilts. Lots and lots of stilts. But don’t worry, they were carefully airbrushed out in the final product. It’s like magic, but with more balloons.

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Overall, this was just one of many creative ways that Citroen marketed their ID and DS models. Balloons and undercarriages were a common sight in their ads, which apparently appealed to uptight German families. Hey, whatever works, right? And who knows, maybe one day we’ll see a car flying through the air with the greatest of ease…but for now, we’ll just stick to the comfort of hydropneumatic suspension.

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