VW Advertising through the ages

VW_logoVW ads were one of the reasons I joined the design industry. I always thought they were brilliant, even when I was growing up – way before I understood the power of branding, brand values and the actual effect they were trying to create with the VW = Reliable link.

So here are a few ads. Starting with my favourite of them all that is a new US ad.

And then followed by the oldest one I could find. This was written by David Ogilvy – My all time advertising hero and writer of the most influential advertising book of it’s day called ‘Ogilvy on Advertising‘.

When you consider the age of this ad, it is remarkable how many of the visual cues are still used today by the latest generation of VW ad designers.

Think Small - an Early ad by David Ogilvy for VW - Look at how similar the design is to the VW ads of today!
Think Small - an Early ad by David Ogilvy for VW - Look at how similar the design is to the VW ads of today!

And then one from the 80’s era of shoulder pads and visible wealth with Paula Hamilton as the star of the show

Then a more recent one again that is quite clever and funny, but showed how they were playing the quality and reliability theme out. Maybe to the point of doing it to death.

6 thoughts on “VW Advertising through the ages

  1. Great piece on some brilliant, long lasting ads! One small thing though – the 1962 Think Small ad (all VW ads from 1959, in fact) was actually created by Doyle Dane Berbach’s Helmut Krone and Julian Koenig, not Ogilvy. In fact, the layout was mockingly called The Ogilvy Layout by DDB staff who found it uninspiring and cliched. By taking the layout and stripping it right back, they created one of the world’s most memorable ads.

    1. Wow, Thanks Nick. That’s some info I didn’t know. DDB were one of the reasons I wanted to join the industry when I was growing up, so they are very much one of my hero companies too! Cheers. John

      1. Yeah, they broke the mold on a lot of stuff. I’ve just put together a blog piece on Helmut Krone and the VW ads as it would have been his birthday yesterday – hence stumbing across your great blog.

      2. Nick. When you have your blog post ready, put a link on the comment here and i’ll promote the link to it for you as well



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