Volkswagen. Bill Bernbach (DDB) 1911-1982

In the 40’s, Bernbach was copywriter in Grey where he was complaining all the time, about the lack of creativity in the business. One of his clients, Orbach, the owner of a really big bakery, supported Bernbach in his thoughts and pull him to create the first campaign for his shop. In some days, he converted the shop with slogans like “You don’t have to be Jewish to eat Levy’s bread’. The baker, a bit worried, supported Bernbach with those kind of communication messages. And he started to be known little by little.

Looking for a car’s budget, finally he accepted the tiny budget of Volkswagen (only 100.000 cars sold in 1958). A really tough work to do for a Jewish from Brooklyn to get back ‘Hitler’s car’, a car without shape comparing with the american’s models. But he thought the other way around. He used the defaults to convert the product in something better.

His first advert was “Think small”.  Using old layouts with the images occuping the two third parts of the paper.

think small

In 1962, when Lem arrived for the first time to the moon, Bernbach signed his ‘affiche’ with this slogan: “It’s ugly but it gets you there”.

it's ugky

In 1972, 15.007.033 Coccinelle were sold in the United States, one of the adverts used a Henry Ford’s quotation: “This car has no future”.  Even if the display of posters wasn’t really spread, Volkswagen decided to continue with the posters campaigns.  At the same time, DDB (Doyle Dane Berncach) became a international network in the majority of the countries.

In 1970, DDB open his department in Paris headed by Bernbach. To advertisements and films he added his posters. The poster was one of the main media tool at that time. Even today, Volkswagen is one of the more original brands in creating posters.

L’Encyclopédie de l’affiche- Alain Weill


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