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Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads? Hardcover – 1 Nov 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Nov 2008
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Harriman House Publishing; 4th edition (1 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905641036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905641031
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 2 x 27.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,153,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


" of the best ever books about advertising - a celebration of the glorious press campaigns by New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. Their 1950s and 1960s ads for the original Beetle used irony, self-deprecation, knowing humour and counter-intuition to establish this unlikely car as America's most successful import. All this sophistication and soft-sell in the days when toothpaste was sold by a woman in a tight sweater with starbursts coming off her incisors!" --Stephen Bayley, The Daily Telegraph

"Bill Bernbach invented modern advertising with the Volkswagen campaign. This book charts that success. No student or practitioner of advertising should be without it." --Sir John Hegarty, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

"This is a must have book for anyone who loves great ads and admires great campaigns - if you're a suit on a piece of car business, you'll find every brief you'll ever need to write." --Steve Callan, Creative Brief Magazine

From the Author

When we first decided to put this book together we knew it was going to be a labour of love. We'd all owned Beetles in our day and we'd all been involved in Volkswagen advertising. One of us as a client, one as an art director and one as a copywriter.

It is now almost 20 years since that first edition yet hardly a month has gone by without one of us receiving a request for a copy of it.

In his book "When advertising tried harder." Larry Dobrow hailed the US Volkswagen work as the best campaign of all time. There are many British ad men who would agree with him. The creative revolution of the late fifties and early sixties produced many outstanding individual ads, even sets of ads, but this really was its first campaign, pre-dating Avis by three years or more.

The Art direction was unlike anything that had come before. It had a Bauhaus cleanliness about it. The square, sharp Futura typeface was a perfect choice, it had the no-nonsense air of precision engineering. The simple, almost stark page layout visually undermined the pretentiousness of rival car ads. In 60's Detroit size did matter. Their cars' already lengthy bodies were further elongated in fanciful air brushed illustrations that had a ritzy residence or besotted blonde thrown in for good measure. The copy also represented a radical change. Humanity replaced pomposity. The headlines would frequently ask a question rather than make a claim. They were witty and disarmingly honest. The copy agreed the Beetle was no oil painting, but boy, did it work. This artful admission of a disadvantage made the car's advantages all the more believable. The ads were also an object lesson in single-mindedness. They set out to dramatise one truth about the product at a time, rather than parade an unwieldy list of them.

These features of the campaign were retained so consistently that while any number of creative teams worked on the business, you can't see the joins. It also proved to be an idea and approach that travelled. Many British ads were every bit as good as their Manhattan counterparts, as were a number of French and German concepts.

One of the reasons for the campaign's position in advertising folklore is the sheer length of time that it kept winning awards. Almost 20 years. A degree of long term success that has only been rivalled by the British Hamlet cigar ads, a series that only enjoyed consistent success in one medium, television.

To Volkswagen who made the car and to Doyle Dane Bernbach who made the ads, must go all the credit. We have simply been willing editors. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In a world where advertising claims to me on the cutting edge, where advertising agencies boast about how brave they are and clients who profess to be the most educated they have ever been, here is a book that reminds us of how conservative and unimaginative we've all become. This book is filled with ad after ad that built a brand into an icon. Gutsy, truly funny and clever marketing, page after page. If you want to get into advertising, memorise this book. If you are in advertising, remind yourself of the size of the shoes you must fill. And if you're a struggling Account person or a Planner working on a car account, this book contains every automotive brief you'll ever need to pinch.
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Format: Hardcover
Imagine for a moment that it's 1946. A year after the Second World War. You're a hard-working advertising executive enjoying a much-needed cup of steaming coffee. Then you get a phonecall from a potential client.
It turns out the client is a small car manufacturer. So far, no problem.
It turns out the client is a small German car manufacturer. Hmmm... maybe a little tricky.
It turns out the client is a small German car manufacturer whose product was commissioned by Adolph Hitler. Bummer.
'Remember Those Great Volkswagon Ads?' tells the story, through the advertising, of how the Volkswagon was transformed from being Hitler's strange looking car into an American icon. How it went from being a Nazi 'people car' to being the American 'love bug'. And how VW became the household name it is today.
If you doubt the influence advertising has over a nation of consumers, and more importantly, over you, this book will change your mind.
But hey... isn't that what advertising's supposed to do?
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Format: Hardcover
Even if your answer to the question posed in the title of this book is "No" - this impeccably researched chronicle of a great campaign for an iconic product will entertain you. The Volkswagen ads Doyle Dane Bernbach created in New York and London raised the bar to a dizzy height and no car campaign since has matched it's breakthrough qualities. Advertising students and VW enthusiasts alike should buy this book for the sheer joy the ads still generate after all these years.
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Format: Hardcover
good book with lots of interesting pictures and facts, bought for my father-in-law, an avid beetle enthusiast, and it was much appreciated
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x892300f0) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I think I forgot how good the advertising for Volkswagen was. I mean, I guess our perception of the brand has to come from somewhere! This book has all the great ads from the 60's and 70's. I've been an ad-man for some time, and this book is pretty famous in our circles for being the first car ads (or any ads really) to be honest to the consumer. Most importantly I've been a VW owner for 15 years, and this book just reiterated to me why I continue to buy that brand again and again. This is for people in advertising, and for Volkswagen owners and/or lovers. I just happen to be both.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8940ab88) out of 5 stars This Book is a LEMON 16 April 2010
By Malcolm Lambe - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This has to be one of the best books on Advertising I've ever bought. It's right up there with "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This!". I just about wet my pants reading this - well more like "looking" at the pictures. I've always know about these ads - they're from my era - The Sixties and Seventies. They were stand-out then and they're still stand-out. I was reminded of them, of course, by the mention in MAD MEN - when Don Draper talks about the famous "Lemon" ad. What also resonates for me is that I've owned dozens of Beetles (some rare "oval rear window" models) and several Kombis - including a twin-cab pick-up (or "Ute" as we call them Downunder).

So for lovers of GREAT press ads AND Volkswagens - this book is a "must have".
HASH(0x89409498) out of 5 stars an excellent book that brought back memories 30 Sept. 2011
By hq4ever - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains several of the iconic ads for the VW beetle and wagon. It includes the script for some of the great tv commercials as well. This brought back a lot of memories when I first noticed these great advertising campaigns back in the sixties. The only problem I had was some of the print is very small, but overall, this is a great book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89406c18) out of 5 stars VW nostalgia 14 Jan. 2009
By Yours truly - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is perfect for anyone who has ever owned a VW. Very entertaining photographs. A terrific gift.
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