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.