The ’50s and ’60s saw advertising transform into a modern approach in which creativity was allowed to shine, producing unexpected messages that made advertisements more tempting to consumers’ eyes.

The Volkswagen ad campaign—featuring such headlines as “Think Small” and “Lemon” (which were used to describe the appearance of the car)—ushered in the era of modern advertising by promoting a “position” or “unique selling proposition” designed to associate each brand with a specific idea in the reader or viewer’s mind. This period of American advertising is called the Creative Revolution and its ‘archetype’ was William Bernbach alongside the DDB agency.

Think Small was an advertising campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, created by Julian Koenig at the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency in 1959. It was ranked as the best advertising campaign of the 20th century by Ad Age.

The campaign has been considered so successful that it “did much more than boost sales and build a lifetime of brand loyalty […] The ad, and the work of the ad agency behind it, changed the very nature of advertising—from the way it’s created to what you see as a consumer today.”

And what a concept… At a time when the US consumers were being urged, cajoled and ‘persuaded’ to “think big” along comes this one ad suggesting the opposite. Continue reading