Looking Back At The Beetle’s Might :5 Things To Learn From VW’s Ad Campaign In The ’60s

In the thick of hard sell advertisements rampant during the ‘60s, the Beetle ad campaign served as a breath of fresh air. The ads brought something new to the table by tickling people’s minds and emotions using soft sell advertising. And, with a touch of marketing magic, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), the advertising agency hired by VW, turned it into something else. They packaged the Beetle in a way that people just don’t only see a German automobile – they see an era and a culture.

The campaign is looked up to mainly because it gave a new face to advertising. It showed the massive power that advertising can do to the thinking of people. This is the reason why it is seen as an inspiration to marketers and advertising people.

If you want your campaign to be the next advertising legend, here are 5 cues you can take from the classic Beetle campaign:

1.       Dare to be different.

15 years after World War II ended, print ads lacked persuasion and sense. They were either too informative or too fancy.  They preferred glitz over wit – “More of fantasy than reality,” as the saying goes.  But DDB turned the tables around by implementing adverts beyond the norm that stood out from the rest.  Using the soft sell technique in their ads is a risky move because no one has done it before but as you can see, it was totally worth it.

looking-back-at-the-beetles-might

2.       Less is more.

If you have taken a look at the beetle ads, you can see that they have simplicity written all over them. This goes to show that you don’t always need fancy graphics for your ads to be noticed. Simple is still the way to go especially if you want to get your message across quickly.

3.       Use humor.

Researchers say that humorous ads have greater chances for brand recall. This is because they don’t only tickle your funny bone but they also demand attention. The beetle ads are not really the silly type but they’re incredibly witty. People enjoyed and still remember the brief but clever taglines that make them think and smile.

4.       Appeal to the emotions.

The Beetle’s classic television commercial,  ‘Funeral’  became a hit because the plot discussed a scenario that people can relate to.   The TV ad claimed to fame because of the line, `A penny saved is a penny earned … and it sure pays to own a Volkswagen’ … I leave my entire fortune of one hundred billion dollars.”  Ads that connect to a personal level are usually the ones that aren’t easily forgotten.

5.       It’s all about branding. 

There’s really nothing special with the VW beetle. It was tiny, plain, and nothing out of the ordinary. So why did it became such a hit? Because it was successfully branded as the “People’s Car”. Before the 1960s, people only saw cars as a vehicle to bring kids to school and to go out of town. But with DDB’s campaign, cars suddenly became a fashion statement and an ego booster.

Hope these tips enlightened you in your campaign.  Remember that a little creativity goes a long way when it comes to advertising materials.