The Conceptual Aspect of the Volkswagen Think Small Ad Campaign in 1959
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The Conceptual Aspect of the Volkswagen Think Small Ad Campaign in 1959

Since the 1959 Think Small campaign was for a Volkswagen, the ad very conveniently focuses on just that: an image of a Volkswagen.

Since the 1959 Think Small campaign was for a Volkswagen, the ad very conveniently focuses on just that: an image of a Volkswagen. This says a lot about the aesthetics of the team involved behind the advertisement itself. It demonstrated a need to be straightforward and to get the message across to the audience without any complications involved. This way even if the ad was merely a poster on the street, it would still get the passerby’s attention because he or she would not need to focus on it for more than a few seconds to get the idea that is being promoted. Moreover, regarding the conceptual aspect of the visual, it should be noted that the ad is made more attractive to the audience because of the accompanying phrase with the image- ‘Think Small’. Indeed the phrase in itself is very simple, yet entirely fundamental to the purpose of the advertisement as a whole.

In the first place, the advertisers are being street smart by using a small phrase that needs not more than a second to be read, a few more to be comprehended and as a consequence, it successfully leaves an impact on the audience’s mind. Had the image not been accompanied by this phrase, the ad would have felt extremely incomplete. The phrase itself exemplifies a couple of ideas. Initially, the audience would go for what the explicit meaning of the phrase suggests and that would be in relation to the size of the car. Since it is invariably small, the phrase ‘Think Small’ would undoubtedly suggest merely just that. However, a slightly extended and far more profound perspective would be needed to dig deeper into the implicit meaning of the phrase.

The word ‘small’ is not only in relation to the size of the car but in fact it encompasses several other factors that add to the attractiveness of the car as a whole. For example, the fact that the car is small suggests its convenience which is by far probably its greatest advantage. Convenience is definitely a factor that is likely to attract consumers. Moreover the phrase may also have suggested a much more acceptable price range. Although it is entirely true that the Volkswagen was indeed a luxury item and personified a status symbol at the time (Phillips, 1999), it can, nevertheless, be expected that the car was being promoted because of its attractive pricing too.

Reference:

Phillips, L. (1999). America takes command 1950-1960. New York, Whitney Museum of American Art. p. 11-12

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