Think Small: The Ad that Revolutionized Advertising

In the end of the 1950s, when advertising was surging through the creative revolution, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) published an ad in lifestyle magazine that changed the face of advertising eternally. 

Volkswagen chose DDB to advertise their brand – VW beetle. The account was handled by Helmut Krone, the then art director of ddb.

·Krone had a lot to work on, apart from being named after an insect, VW Beetle came to the market in the time when America was in deep love with stylish vehicles. Beetle, on the contrary, screamed mediocrity, with its awkward appearance of a mouse with headlights and taillights.

·The car was designed originally to accommodate five people and it did not cost more than a motorbike.

·The advertisement for VW beetle was first printed in 1959. The copy of the ad was specifically designed to highlight the stark contrast between the multitude of features that the car did not offer to the little that it did offer.

· The advertisement itself was a torch-bearer for many generations of creative ads that followed. It was printed in a full-length page with bare background, a small image of the automobile as shown in the top left-hand corner, with the copy in the center, that read – think small. DDB positioned VW beetle as the minimalistic, economical, inexpensive car that it was, instead of promising expensive dreams to its clients.

·Sales of the VW beetle went up to 500,000 cars that year.

DDB had an obligation to advertise VW beetle favorably to a generation that was evolving creatively. And the agency was successfully designed a concept-based advertisement that worked in their favor. DDB knew that beetle was lacking in style, so they boldly portrayed that “It’s ugly, but it will get you there”. The ad campaign was later recognized as one of the greatest of all time.

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