This ad first got my attention while I was in high school. I was snooping around my then art room and came across a dusty old Advertising Annual.
I recall the year 10, pimple-faced, naive teenager reading this one word headline and saying: “I don’t get it…Why would VW call their own car a Lemon?” That all changed once I read on. It was that moment I was introduced the art of copywriting and decided that I needed to be in advertising.
No wonder Mad Men’s Don Draper is in awe of this 1960’s ad when he speaks to his team. The introduction of this strange shaped car to the US market would’ve been so far from the norm and would’ve raised eyebrows.
Most car ads looked like this with the classic art direction – but no other cars looked like this. Other car companies like Chevy and Ford were producing the largest cars ever and were selling them with models wearing tuxedos and cocktails dresses. Volkswagon told people to ‘think small’.
For the rest of the decade they kept this daring and unconventional ad campaign rolling. Their strategy of turning so called ‘faults’ into benefits was a massive hit, and left the other car companies so far in the dust they never really caught up.
Lesson here? Be brave.