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How Volkswagen Went Big By Thinking Small: Successful Marketing Campaigns- Part 2

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Couldn’t read most of it? Well, that’s the point! 

Ever wondered what makes some marketing campaigns last, overcoming the test of time? 

Well in our last blog, we analyzed two campaigns that have marked the marketing world. Their unconventional approach and out-of-the-box thinking paid off and shaped the success of two popular brands- Absolut Vodka and Redbull.

Let’s look at another campaign that took the marketing and advertising world for a spin. 

The ‘Think Small’ campaign was set in the 1950s- an era that was the onset of Lifestyle Marketing (Don’t know about lifestyle marketing? Check our blog on it here).

In America, buying a car in the 50s was all about a social statement rather than acquiring a means for transportation. While Americans chose cars based on their power and style, Volkswagen wanted its small and compact Beetle to break the market.  

But given that it was manufactured in Nazi Germany and was unusually unlike other cars in the market, getting Americans to notice the Beetle, let alone invest in it,  was going to be difficult. 

The resulting campaign changed print advertising as well as the industry of automobiles for the better.

Automobile advertising, at the time, mainly focused on romanticizing the fantasy of wheels. They placed the product in the front and center of the post and used a well-crafted copy to highlight the American Dream. The posters were full of information about the model. The focus was mainly luxury, power and social standing. 

The Think Small campaign stood apart by taking on an anti-luxury approach that focused on the product’s so-called “flaws”. The unconventional posters drew a lot of attention to this vehicle.  

The focus of the  ads in the campaign was the negative space more than the product. The empty background emphasized the compactness of the car. The text occupied the bottom end of the poster with the logo awkwardly placed between it and described  the advantages of owning a smaller vehicle in an attempt to lure consumers away from luxury automobiles.

The simplistic design and layout was in total contrary to the advertising conventions of the time and introduced minimalism to the world of advertising. 

Not only does Think Small continue to inspire current Volkswagen advertising but it also ushered in a creative revolution in the advertising business. The campaign showed the power of humor and honesty, and its photographic and design principles brought about a major shift in the look and feel of marketing around the world.

A few print ads that came after the Think Small: 

Subject: Email Marketing Is A Scam.
From Gaining Wings to Taking Off: Successful Marketing Campaigns- Part 1
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