Ned Doyle, Maxwell Dane and William Bernbach were the founders of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) now known as DDB worldwide communications group Inc, a creative advertising agency. William Bernbach advertising executive is known for being part of an agency that changed the world of communications by the formation of the “creative revolution”. He is known for his inspirational words that to this day still have a strong effect on men and women of the creative industries examples include:
“Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art”,
"Creativity is the most powerful force in business."
"Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it."
“Rules are what the artist breaks the memorable never emerged from a formula”.
Bernbach is mostly recognised for his advertisement in the Volkswagen campaign “think small”. This was bizarrely successful considering it was a German manufactured car released so soon after World War Two. Berncah’s aim was to present an advert that did not conform to the common ideas and strategies other adverts were offering at this time, which were generally full of gimmicks.
Bernbach designed his advert by using a subtle yet effective approach. Success of the advertisement stemmed from the clever use of context and design with the car presented in black and white on a very small scale surrounded by white space, accompanied by an interesting strap-line. Bernbach took a big risk in the presentation of the advertisement as arguably it could be have been seen as dull due to the absence of strong and bold colours that generally appeal to the viewer. Together with his clever use of imagery, staplines and creative strategies he managed to market the product as a luxurious, spacious vehicle, focusing on the compact size and affordability of the vehicle. Bernbach successfully increased brand awareness and engaged the viewing public thus drastically increasing sales of the VW beetle.
This advertisement uses a similar method as the previous “think small” ad incorporating the same typography and black and white image, however in this case the car is very evident as it is a closer image yet the layout remains the same. The use of the word lemon is a very risky and strong statement to use in America as the term lemon is seen as an insult for being useless. In this case the advertisers were mocking their own product due to the size of the vehicle and allow the viewing public to think of the practical side of the product and its suitability to their needs. This once again is an example of Bernbach’s clever way of advertising to boost sales.
Over the years VW Beetle’s advertisements have evolved with the use of colours, different layouts and backgrounds however they have still maintained the clever, strap lines as seen in the images below.
The first image is of a the New Beetle with the strap line “All you need is New Beetle” this is a play on words using the lyrics from one of the Beetle’s most famous songs “All you need is love”.
The second image again cleverly demonstrates “The Beatles” theme, however this time it is portrayed through the layout of the image, as the advertisement replicates the Beetles album cover where the Beetles are photographed crossing Abbey Road zebra crossing.