by Ashley Morrison.
..by Volkswagen. I've always been a fan of their ad campaigns and many of them rank pretty highly on my personal "I wish I'd thought of that" list.
They work because they seem so 'of the moment'“ and yet, looking back to the Think Small ad of 1960 by New York's Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), they also seem timeless. Indeed, some 50 years later, the whole VW Polo campaign is still built around the power of being small. The aim of DDB was not only to be innovative but to encourage the notion of "brand ambassadors" people who were actually customers already and would keep coming back time after time whilst spreading the word on behalf of the brand. Plus the ad was revolutionary because most Americans were buying massive gas guzzlers at the time, so it was appealing to the "thinking American". Who wouldn't want to be thought of as being in that elite group? Think Small was voted the No.1 campaign of all time in Advertising Age's The Century of Advertising.
Earlier this year, I attended a copywriting conference in Bournemouth, entitled Words That Sell. The 1959 commercial below, featuring the iconic VW Beetle, has been upheld as one of the most ingenious television commercials ever made. And once again, the concept is so simple: "Have you ever wondered how the man who drives a snow plough drives to the snow plough?"
Volkswagen - "Snow Plow"
Last year, I laughed out loud when I saw this one for the first time. Entitled The Force, and conceived by Michael Kadin and Eric Springer, Executive Vice Presidents and Creative Directors at Deutsch, it originally ran during the 2011 Superbowl before it hit the UK shores from across the pond. Brilliantly targeted - because who doesn't know who Darth Vader is? - it is also spectacularly cute. It is so good, in fact, that it went viral within a matter of weeks and has now racked up an incredible 54 million hits on YouTube.
Volkswagen - "The Force"
The recession is, naturally, one of the most talked about subjects in recent memory. We're all money conscious to a more extreme degree now than we ever have been (in my memory, at least), so the "VW Value" ad, by adam&eveDDB, is about as apposite as it could possibly be. The conversation between the husband and wife is surely as typical as any you might overhear in any supermarket up and down the country, striking an all too familiar chord when it comes to thrifty spending.
Volkswagen - "Value: Supermarket"
But currently my favourite VW ad is this one, for so many reasons. It's not just about the fact that a VW Up! is such good value that it can apparently be bought straight off the shelf, it's also about the whole mood and ambience of the setting: a woman buying "just this, please", then spotting some chewing gum near the till and grabbing that without a moment's thought and then the same nonchalance being applied to buying the car. The concept is top-notch, the delivery is superb.
Volkswagen - "Newsagent"
Ashley Morrison is a blogger, copywriter and editor.