1959: VW changes the course of advertising with its ‘Think Small’ campaign

Suggested by Bob Scarpelli, former chairman and chief creative o cer, DDB Worldwide


One of my favorite marketing moments was much more than a moment. It was the start of a revolution. The original Volkswagen work is one of the very few campaigns that changed the course of advertising history.

Bill Bernbach and his superstar team of Mad Men took a funny looking German car called the Beetle and helped turn it into one of the most popular and successful brands in the US.

They did it with wit, humor and an appreciation for the intelligence of the customer. Ads just didn’t look like this, sound like this or communicate ideas like this before.

Print ads like ‘Lemon’ and ‘Think Small’ and TV spots like ‘Snowplow’ and so many others were beautifully simple, surprising and in the end, massively influential ideas.

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