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All The Great Mad Men Era Volkswagen Ads

Consider this the best advertising course you'll ever take. 50 ads in chronological order, more or less.

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How to advertise a challenger brand, 101.

Above are the two main ads that launched the Volkswagen brand in America.

"Lemon" ad copy starts: "This Volkswagen missed the boat. The chrome strip on the glove compartment is blemished, and must be replaced."

It was shocking, to say the least, for an auto brand to call their car a lemon.

What made the ad even more appealing than the shock value, was that the Bug was in fact (and still is) shaped like a lemon.

To say "Think Small" with regard to autos in 1960 was revolutionary.

Most American car ads from the era looked exactly like this.

Bigger was better, the bigger the better.

But Volkswagen never shied away from this startling, risky strategy.

This worked out pretty damn well for them.

VW's ad agency was Doyle Dane Bernbach, with the great Bill Bernbach leading the creative department.

There are about 200 or so 1960s VW ads available online.

I picked my 50 favorites (with a couple of early 1970s executions).



Via copyranter's collection

"...The Volkswagen is 4 feet shorter than standard wagons, but only 9 inches longer than the Volkswagen Sedan. It parks like a little sports car. Yet inside, you can carry more stuff than any wagon made..."


Via Flickr: lvsutton

1967 ad.

Copy: "We've been making the same basic VW for so long now, you'd think we'd be bored with the whole thing.

But the fact is, we're still learning."

The VW copy conversed with you. It didn't talk down to you, or treat you like an idiot.

46. One of the best print ads ever.

Via copyranter's collection

This ad ran in Life magazine on August 8th of 1969, just two weeks after the astronauts returned safely to Earth. The ad agency obviously had it in the can, ready to run, and probably sent film of it and a back-up ad to Life, just in case.


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