volkswagen beetle competitive marketing analysis

In the USA during the early 1960s every car advertisement was the same claiming that purchasing their automobile would give you woman, friends, and the American dream, and it wasn’t until Volkswagen came out with their revolutionary campaign that anyone did anything different in the industry. DDB was given the Volkswagen account because of their unconventional ideas and the most famous ad they designed in the campaign is the Think Small ad.

The Think Small ad features a small, black and white photograph of a Volkswagen Beetle in the top left corner of a blank page with a headline below reading, “Think Small”. This was contrary to the common message of the time where cars were told to be big, sexy, and look like rocket ships. The simplicity of the Think Small ad and the absurd message of the header are in complete rebellion to the mainstream which draws attention and discussion to the product and attracts an entirely new market. This brilliant move on the part of the part of DDB was so effective that they took a cheap car commissioned by Hitler and sold it to thousands of Americans just a decade after World War Two ended.!


This ad works entirely off of humour by saying a perceived negative about the product and then turning it into a positive. This stunt brought the ad a lot of attention which in turn sold a lot of cars. The ad also draws an emotional appeal from it’s target by saying that those who drive the Volkswagen are being rebellious by being different from the norm. !


The main demographic this ad targets is young men who are willing to take a risk with something different. This ad targets intellects who go beyond the visual appearance and look for genuine quality in a car and those who are looking to be efficient with their money. Since this ad is not sexy and since it’s very simple, DDB’s execution of this ad is perfectly matches the strategy of targeting their intended market.

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