Thursday, June 24, 2010

Marketing Campaign: 1960s Volkswagen Ads

Mad Men meets VW Bug

Remember that Mad Men episode where everyone is in a tizzy over the Volkswagen bug ad? Who can blame them; the ads were ahead of its time. From the witty word play to the exquisite iconography, Volkswagen ads in the 60s provided a perfect case study on how to re-brand a brand on the ropes because at that point,
the car was becoming outdated, but due to innovative advertising, and a growing reputation for reliability, the production figures surpass the levels of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T.
On February 17, 1972 the 15,007,034th Beetle was sold. Volkswagen could now claim the world production record for the most-produced, single make of car in history. By 1973, total production was over 16 million.  (wiki)
 It just goes to show that clever word play and great visuals can go along way in any industry.

Here is a classic Volkswagen TV spot and a few of their famous ads:

Think small.

How much longer can we hand you this line?

It makes your house look bigger.

The Volkswagen Theory of Evolution.

Don't laugh.

Volkswagen's unique construction keeps dampness out.

Live below your means.


  1. Studied this ad in my marketing program. The Golden Age of advertising for sure, Pretty cool they used it in Mad Men.

  2. Volkswagen is known for coming up with catchy and creative ads. In fact, they have a commercial where they had dogs bark to the tune of the imperial army in Star Wars. But aside from their ingenious marketing campaigns, VW is also well-known for its reliable and affordable products. Since its establishment in the 1930's, the company has been able to satisfy consumers with sturdy and reasonably-priced cars. That is primarily why the company has such a solid global consumer base.

  3. DDB wanted to tell the truth about the car. Unheard of at the time, most companies lied, changed models, peer pressured you but not DDB, they were ahead of their time and set the stage for advertisers for the next few decades. imagine, telling the truth