The Art of Advertising – BSA Promotional Art 1967-1970 Review

Ads such as this rolled out the slang term “BEEZA” as a formal part of the BSA lexicon, though the BSA seems almost like an afterthought.

Three of Brad Jones’ recent books provide a history of the BSA brand of motorcycles that is quite unlike that available on any other brand. The series includes BSA Motorcycles – The Final Evolution, From the Inside – BSA/Triumph’s Umberslade Hall Research Establishment Revealed. Now, Jones has added The Art of Advertising – BSA Promotional Artwork 1967-1970 to his portfolio. Jones provides extraordinary inside detail on the final struggle for viability for the combined company ultimately created in an attempt to save the British brands from complete collapse in his book, Norton Villiers Triumph – Viable Proposition or House of Cards?

Each book brings out rarely seen inside details of the operation of the companies Jones covers. He explains, in the most complete detail, how a company such as BSA, once the maker of the largest-selling motorcycles in the world, could end up out of business. Fortunately, India’s industrial giant Mahindra has recently acquired the BSA name. Mahinda’s BSA motorcycles revive the classic look that modern-retro fans love.

In his latest book, Jones brings great technical background together with the striking advertising images by Rick McBride and others covering the period from 1967 to 1970. McBride was the creative and business force in the Beverly Hills-based Rick McBride Advertising agency. He was retained to take over the United States and, later, worldwide advertising efforts for BSA in late-1967. Large-format prints of McBride’s remarkable BSA and automotive art are available from The Rick McBride Collection website.

Jones relates that McBride was retained by BSA because of his extensive experience doing promotional work in the automotive world for the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, Ford, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Pininfarina. He describes why McBride’s services were a game-changer for the BSA advertising approach.

Jones writes, “BSA’s 1967 US advertising campaign had initially commenced along conventional and unadventurous lines, each of the magazine ads from the early months of the year suffering from lackluster background and composition while accompanying slogans were equally uninspiring…things were, however, about to change—and for the better.”

In addition to McBride’s stylized images, which often featured young models in miniskirts and bikinis, and sometimes revealing plenty of cleavage, Jones recalls the memorable slogans and narrative that went along with the upgrade to BSA’s messaging. Slogans such as “MOVE…into the BOLD WORLD of BSA”, “Get astride the exciting life – BSA,” and “BEEZA – the Bold Way to Make Time” were a part of efforts to amp up sales and burnish the old marque’s reputation with young riders.

Jones covers how BSA worked to capitalize on racing and record-setting achievements to boost sales. For example, he provides insights into the advertising campaigns built around the speed and endurance records set by Yvon Duhamel on the new A75 Rocket III at Daytona in 1969 and Darrell Triber’s record Three Flags Run from Canada to Mexico through the United States, also set with a Rocket III. The book also includes detailed information on models offered in the period, logo designs, and color options.

The Art of Advertising - BSA Promotional Art 1967-1970 Book Review
These four books by Brad Jones cover BSA in unusual depth, including the failed Norton Villiers Triumph combination.

The Art of Advertising – BSA Promotional Artwork 1967-1970 by Brad Jones is an unusual look into the behind-the-scenes work of those whose artistry was put to use to convince riders to buy BSA motorcycles. Although BSA didn’t survive the 1970s, there is something timeless about the art of its promotion and design, which is captured in this beautiful book.

Printed on heavy, almost poster-grade matte stock, The Art of Advertising – BSA Promotional Artwork 1967-1970 is packed with more than 230 color and black-and-white images from the era, along with a fascinating narrative. Taken with the other books, it is exceptional reading, not only for fans of the brand, but for any motorsports fan, students of industrial design, marketing, management, and photography.

Title: The Art of Advertising—BSA Promotional Artwork 1967-1970

  • Author: Brad Jones
  • Published: 2021 by Spangle Publishing
  • Format: Hardcover; 86 pages; 9.5-by-11 inches; 234+ color and black-and-white period images, many not previously published.

The Art of Advertising—BSA Promotional Artwork 1967-1970 Price: £28.50
Ordering contact: email or website