The Original

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


These days we’re bombarded with ads that try and create an emotional connection with their respective brands.  Sometimes this works (posterchild is Apple), and sometimes it fails (Kellogg’s street gear - seriously).  But who started this all?  When did it begin?

Turns out that it’s easy to pinpoint: Volkswagen’s introduction of the Beetle to America in 1960.  According to the Portland Business Journal, they needed to find a way to connect with American consumers (some context: WWII had ended 15 years earlier and the bug was made in a factory built by the Nazis).  They turned to DDB who created the first ad that was neither informational nor fantastical, rather emotional.

It resonates to this day - and continues to influence.  In a recent interview, Stefan Sagemeister mentioned that just about every creative he talks to cites the campaign as the most influential campaign ever.

To see some photos, check out powerwriting and adclassix.  Here’s a personal fave (note that it could just as easily run today and be contemporary):

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