Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Gelb Aktion in action

Last year I wrote a short post about a rare 1961 brochure published for VW dealers that explained the many components of the Volkswagen + VW 1500 advertising campaign, titled Wir werben für den VW 1500 (We advertise the VW 1500). It's a fascinating look from a dealer's point of view at the many tools that were available for publicizing the new 1500: posters in many sizes and formats, banners, freestanding signs, projection slides, print advertising, postal advertising, sales brochures, and window stickers. Here are some photos showing how these campaign components were actually put into use by individual dealers, as seen in VW Informationen, VW's internal publication for dealers and distributors.

On the right side of the photo above you can see a poster for the 1961 Frankfurt international auto show, where the VW 1500 made its public debut. This dates the photo to September 1961.

This dealer raised the bar by combining campaign components with additional graphics in a futuristic space frame advertising structure.

And here the dealer's name has been spelled out on the side of the building using campaign posters. Too bad the photo isn't in color!

All in all, an effective demonstration of what today we would call "branding." The bright yellow color, sans-serif typography, and high-contrast imagery made a very bold visual statement. The complex simplicity and flexibility of the system conveyed a unified and consistent message no matter what location or medium. Modern publicity for a modern automobile.

[thanks to Johannes for sending some of the dealership photos above]

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