DEARBORN – A nearly 90-year-old advertisement that propelled Ford Motor Company’s vision for putting the world on wheels and recently helped transform the company from survival to profitable growth has a fresh face.
The “Opening the Highways to All Mankind” advertisement originally was placed in the Saturday Evening Post on Jan. 24, 1925. It detailed Henry Ford’s original vision of providing affordable, safe transportation to everyone.
In 2007, the ad came to the attention of Ford CEO and President Alan Mulally and other senior leaders. After years of declining sales and profits and in the face of a looming financial crisis, the company once again used the ad as a vision for its transformation from survival to profitable growth.
The ad came to signify a compelling vision for the company and its employees as they implemented the One Ford plan, which involves aggressively restructuring, accelerating the development of new products, strengthening the balance sheet and leveraging global assets.
“Henry Ford was talking about one Ford, one plan, one team and working together – and that is exactly our One Ford plan,” said Mulally. “We are using this same vision to Go Further today in developing high-quality, fuel-efficient, safe and smart products that customers want and value – and that are affordable – so that we can continue opening up the highways to all mankind.”
The image in the ad shows a family overlooking a hilly landscape dotted with cars and Ford manufacturing facilities in the background. The text details Ford’s vision for extending safe and efficient transportation to everyone through an efficient organization committed to profitable growth, continuous improvement and service to customers.
Until mid-2012, the painting used to create the 1925 advertisement had been virtually unseen.
Titled “Visions of Tomorrow,” the painting was in storage at The Henry Ford, a history museum complex in Dearborn, Mich., that collaborates in a unique partnership with Ford Motor Company to preserve America’s and Ford’s rich heritage. The Henry Ford led restoration of the painting and a paper print of the ad, supported by a grant from Ford Motor Company Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm.
Mulally and The Henry Ford’s President Patricia Mooradian unveiled the restored painting today at the Henry Ford Museum. The painting is highlighted in a new addition to the museum’s “Driving America” exhibit.
“The painting itself is very representative of the story we tell in the ‘Driving America’ exhibit every day,” said Mooradian. “It’s the story of how the automobile has changed the American landscape, and made our lives easier along the way. We are very thankful of our partnership with Ford Motor Company and the Ford Motor Company Fund for helping us make sure that this painting continues to inspire visitors for years to come.”
The restoration of the painting also is tied to a series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the company founder’s birth this year.