Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Volkswagen + VW 1500 ad campaign, 1961

The name of this blog comes from the advertising campaign that launched the VW 1500 in 1961. Here are some pieces that were part of the campaign.

Issue 63 of VW Informationen, Volkswagen's internal magazine for dealers and distributors, introduces the VW 1500 and explains the campaign, which was known as the "Gelb Aktion," or Yellow Campaign. One of VW's primary goals was to make it clear to the public that the 1500 was a new addition to the VW line and not a replacement for the 1200. Designed in what has become known as the Swiss Modern style by R.A. Storfer, the campaign was a modular system of parts that were meant to be assembled in many different ways for various purposes while maintaining a consistent brand identity. The key visual elements were stark, high-contrast images of the VW 1200 and 1500, "Volkswagen + VW 1500" in bold sans-serif type, and the color yellow for applications where color was an option. The campaign's visuals are described in VW Informationen as having the impact of a bass drum being hit -- clearly the idea was to cut through the visual clutter of the other advertising of the day. To rely so heavily on modern graphic abstraction was a very contemporary and somewhat risky marketing strategy for a company like VW at that time. It underscores how important the introduction of the 1500 was to VW as it entered the 1960s.

These photos are from the presentation meeting in Wolfsburg where the campaign was explained to prominent European dealers and distributors.

And here's the campaign in action on the street, as seen in the January 1962 issue of Gute Fahrt. You can see how the posters were designed to be hung in series for increased impact through repetition. I'd love to find one of these original posters. Gute Fahrt's caption commented favorably on their placement here.


Carl said...

I'm enjoying reading your account of this restoration. Just wanted to chime in for encouragement's sake.


Scott said...

Thanks Carl, I'm glad someone's reading it!

Charlie said...

Loads of us are reading it! loving the pics as usual! p.s. if you find any more of this ad campaign material - hook me up pal! cheers

david said...

This will sound weird, but here I go. I believe that this car wasn't introduced in the U.S. until 1964. We were in Canada for Christmas 1962, and my father, an AMC dealer, spotted the car at a Cardston, Alberta, gas-station-dealership. My Dad loved to poke the other local dealers in the eye as often as possible, so he bought the car, spent 6hrs. in customs, and had the first '65 VW 1500 in Spokane. Did it cause a stink! He ran an ad to come compare it to the Rambler American, while no local dealer even had one. Thanks for allowing an old man to relive some good memories. Good Luck.

Scott said...

Thanks for the great story David. I'd love to see that Rambler vs. VW 1500 ad! The VW Type 3 was officially introduced to the US market in 1966, but quite a few of them were brought in before then from Europe and Canada by individuals like your dad. A VW 1500 would have been a real head turner in Spokane in 1962!

Big Dee said...

Found your website through Jalopnik...I'm a 1965 Notchback 1500s owner myself, also in L.A., NE area, near CalState LA.

I've been "restoring" my Notch for about 7 years now...to a semi-custom state...raised spindle knuckles, to lower the car, Porsche Fuchs and was blueprinting a Type 4 motor to through in...that's on definite hold.

Used to belong to NONA and was active in the VWType3 list, but other priorities have taken hold and my car sits covered up, in the garage.

But keep the updates coming!

Scott said...

Dee, do you follow the Type 3 forums on thesamba.com? There's been some discussion of NONA lately -- a few former members have been waxing nostalgic about the old days. You should check it out if you haven't already.

Big Dee said...

Scott, It's been a while since i've talked air-cooled VW, let alone T3 on the web, but I'll roll over there and drop in.

Thanks for the heads up.