One hundred years ago, motoring for the masses was still a dream for most people. Certainly, cars were more numerous than ever, even though the country was at war. Light Cars and Cycle Cars had been developed to enable the middle-classes to take to the roads, but in effect four-wheeled motoring was still a novelty for most people. By the 1920s promotional gifts supplied by motor-car manufacturers and all those allied businesses associated with motoring like the purveyors of petrol, tyres, oil, sparking plugs and the like, companies frequently offered marketing gifts usually via retail garages, to encourage and fascinate the reluctant customer. The most common would be the coloured sales brochure, but then there were three-dimensional things like model cars constructed as cigarette lighters, card games, a lady’s purse in the shape of a driver’s helmet, vesta cases moulded as an engine, rubber-tyred ashtrays and in the case of the attached image, a child’s puzzle with a picture of a motor-car depicted. Undoubtedly Morris Motors supplied the image, and probably had a few hundred puzzles manufactured, and then supplied them to their main agents to distribute to regular customers and in this example, to children of perspective customers that will have visited the showroom.
Marketing of this type has not changed however: your contributor was recently given a ‘Mini’-adorned coffee cup by his local B.M.W./Mini Agent after the car was serviced, presumably to remind him of the size of his invoice!