Saturday, April 2, 2016

Corinthian Leather -- a marketing ploy

Corinthian leather is a term coined by the advertising agency Bozell to describe the upholstery used in certain Chrysler luxury vehicles. The term first appeared in advertising in 1974. Although the term suggests that the product has a relationship to or origination from Corinth, there is no relationship; the term is merely a marketing concept.

The term was first used during the marketing campaign for the 1974 Imperial LeBaron, but the term is usually associated with the marketing campaign for the 1975 Cordoba and that campaign's celebrity spokesperson, Ricardo Montalban, who described "the thickly-cushioned luxury of seats available even in soft Corinthian leather".

Despite the exotic origin suggested by the name "Corinthian leather", much of the leather used in Chrysler vehicles during the era originated from a supplier located outside Newark, New Jersey.

Some sources say the term refers to the combination of leather seating surfaces and vinyl seat sides. However, most cars worldwide with "leather upholstery" have matching color vinyl seat bases and often the rear faces of the front seats, the head rests, and the door facings. The standard term in period car catalogs was 'leather with vinyl', and sometimes 'leather seat facings'. When Montalban was asked by David Letterman on Late Night with David Letterman what the term meant, the actor playfully admitted that the term meant nothing.

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