All That Sizzles

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An old Madison Avenue advertising maxim says that to sell the steak, you sell the sizzle. Don’t promote Grade-A qualities or lean and aged beef; instead, show a backyard grill surrounded by a crowd of hungry guests watching the chef at work. Think master of the barbecue.

That type of sizzle is the idea behind this 1961 advertisement from the Trojan Boat Co. The creative says nothing about engines, performance or construction. Instead, the ad illustrates the life you can lead if you own the boat. Think master of the marina. That’s you in the wetsuit, with a fish, lounging in the cockpit, relaxing in the sun and salt air. You’re out of the office and out of the house. You’re the captain of your ship and the envy of your friends.

Still, for the sizzle to work, the steak has to be good—and many Trojan owners believed that the builder delivered on its promise of “the good life at its best.”
Trojan produced a fleet of family-oriented boats that made it one of the world’s most popular and prolific boat manufacturing companies.

Jim McQueen and Harper Hull founded the company in 1949, having bought out a Troy, New York, boatbuilder and moving the business to Pennsylvania.
One of the first big hits for Trojan was the wooden 28-foot Sea Breeze, introduced in 1954. Trojan switched to fiberglass construction in the mid-1960s and expanded with two more locations, acquiring Canada’s Shepard Boat Co. along the way.

By the late 1960s, Trojan offered a range of powerboats, cruisers, fishing boats and runabouts from 17 to 33 feet. The 33-foot Argonaut cabin cruiser was featured in the TV series Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges, who was frequently pictured in his diving suit and fins on board. Hence, the couple shown here in scuba gear, enjoying the sizzling Hollywood life. 

This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue.