Volkswagen Publicity Campaign Essay example

Volkswagen Publicity Campaign Essay example

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Advertising in the 50s was primarily focused on the return of traditional family values, and portraying the consumer’s role in society’s prestige. But, during the recession of 1959 to 1961, the time was ripe for some innovation in the advertising industry. Surly enough, a single ad appeared that changed the course of advertising history. The Volkswagen Beetle, a seemingly ugly car with all odds against it in the American market of huge, tail-finned vehicles of the 1950s, surprisingly prospered. The advertisement campaign broke all previous rules of using wide-angle photography, and beautiful women. These advertisements stole the American hearts with their wit and honesty.
Doyle Dane Bernbach’s (DDB) Volkswagen “Think Small,” campaign did more than boost sales and build brand recognition; It’s 1960s advertising campaign ushered a creative revolution in the advertising industry starting from the ‘big idea,’ to what consumers see in 2013.
Smiling faces, beautiful women and “American made” were the typical elements in advertisements during this decade. DDB’s first “big idea” behind the campaign was no different; The main goal was to make the Volkswagen more American by shooting Suzy Parker standing next to a Volkswagen. It wasn’t until after visiting the production line and watching the step by step production of the Volkswagen did DDB strike gold with an innovate new “big idea.” What resonated with the American advertising team the most during this visit was the incredible quality control of the German factory, thus they decided on “an honest car promoted with Honesty.”
The campaign was built on selling a single advantage of the car in each ad that was created. There was a consistent theme between each advertisement: the pict...

... middle of paper ...

...s each Volkswagen advertisement brought humor and truth into automobile advertising.


Bendinger, Bruce. The Copy Workshop Workbook, 4th ed. (Chicago: Copy Workshop, 2009). 21, 49, 334.
Berkman, Herald W. and Gilson, Christopher. Advertising: Concepts and Strategies, 2nd ed.. (New York: Random House, 1987). 244.
Goodrum, Charles and Dalrymple, Helen, Advertising in America: The First 200 Years. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1990). 37.
Nelson, Walter E. Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen. (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970). 213-220.
Rowsome, Frank. Think Small: The story of those Volkswagen ads. (Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1907). 76-78.
Warlaumont, Hazel G. Advertising in the 60s: Turncoats, Traditionalists, and Waste Makers in America’s Turbulent Decade. (Connecticut: PRAGER, 2001). 184-86.

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