Volkswagen advertising history

Volkswagen advertising history

In 1949, William Bernbach [] , along with colleagues Ned Doyle and Maxwell Dane, formed Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), the advertising agency that would create the revolutionary Volkswagen ad campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s.

Bernbach's artistic approach to print advertising was innovative, and he understood that advertising didn't sell products. The strategy was to try to keep customers, creating and nurturing "brand ambassadors" rather than attract the attention of those who were uninterested in the product. Bernbach's team of "agency creatives" was headed by Helmut Krone, who pioneered the idea of simplicity in print advertisements. His repeated use of actual photographs as opposed to the embellished illustrations of competing agencies spawned comfortably consistent, yet unique print ads that met DDB's goal of stark departure from the current advertisement techniques. [Robinson 1996, p.72]

Because Volkswagen’s ad budget in 1960 was only $800,000 [McLeod 1999, p.32] DDB’s bare-bones, black-and-white approach, coupled with a projected common theme of irreverence, fit Wolfsburg’s needs well. Each Volkswagen ad was designed to be so complete that it could stand alone as a viable advertisement even without addressing all aspects of the car, and research by The Starch Company showed that Volkswagen advertisements had higher reader scores than editorial pieces in many magazines, a sign of the campaign's runaway success, as Volkswagen’s advertisements often didn't even include a slogan or logo.



*cite book
last = McLeod
first = Kate
title = Beetlemania: The Story of the Car that Captured the Hearts of Millions
publisher = Smithmark Publishers
date = 1999
location = New York
isbn = 0765110180

*cite book
last = Reichert
first = Nikolaus
coauthors = Hans Joachim Klersy
title = VW Beetle: An Illustrated History
publisher = J.H. Haynes & Co Ltd
date = 1987
location = Sparkford, England
isbn = 0854295917

*cite book
last = Robinson
first = Graham
title = Volkswagen Chronicle
publisher = Publications International, Ltd
date = 1996
location = Lincolnwood
isbn = 0785315993

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