The Revolutionary Stage of American Advertising in the 50s and 60s As Shown by the Volkswagen Think Small Ad
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The Revolutionary Stage of American Advertising in the 50s and 60s As Shown by the Volkswagen Think Small Ad

The Volkswagen Think Small ad is one of the proofs that American advertising has undergone an exciting, innovative, revolutionary stage of advertising in 50s and in the 60s.

The Volkswagen Think Small ad is one of the proofs that American advertising has undergone an exciting, innovative, revolutionary stage of advertising in 50s and in the 60s (Dobrow, 1984). On a much more basic note, it has to be noted that the ad as a whole seems to be somewhat unconventional. It is commonly expected that the commodity that is being promoted is what stands out in the ad but a closer look at the visual we are presented with illustrates how little the image of the car actually is. To be blatantly truthful, it does not completely stand out in the ad as a whole. This, however, does not necessarily have to be considered a shortcoming of the advertisers. In fact it may as well be a smart move on their behalf to catch the audience’s eye. The small size of the image is probably intended to represent what the phrase ‘Think Small’ exemplifies. In addition, by keeping the image small, it has been ensured that the audience focuses more on the phrase initially and is then triggered to know more about the advertisement and the product that is being promoted. A closer look would then reveal that it is in fact the legendary Volkswagen that is being promoted.

In conclusion, it is abundantly clear that this visual is in fact being used as a critical element of the publicity of the car and although there may have been far more creative options in mind, the fact that the advertisement itself is very simple and aesthetically basic only personifies the limitations of the time in which it was released, the target audience and of course the marketing objectives of the advertising team. Overall, however, the advertisement succeeds in satisfying the need of publicity in not only creating awareness in the mind of potential consumers but garnering interest that may actually lead them to consider purchasing the car.

Advertising images like these are now very common and are actually an integral part of the modernized society where every commodity needs to be marketed in such a way so as to appear striking. It is true that this has also translated into the modern society transforming into a far more money-oriented one since the whole aim of such publicity and advertisements is to get as many people as possible to purchase the commodity that is being promoted (Berger, 1972). The contrast in how visuals were used back in the 50s and how they are used now is striking but the purpose of attracting consumers and promoting one’s product has remained constant to this day. It goes along with the fact that lifestyle changes while technology develops.

Moreover, as culture changes, the visual preferences of the consumers change as well, which advertising companies need to consider. It does not mean, however, that what worked in the past does not work today.There is a big chance, in fact, that a simple ad like the Volkswagen Think Small can be very powerful among the consumers of today. This adds to the fact that retro style could mean classic and classy among the modern generation. A blend of the modern technology and the classic aesthetics can even make an ad campaign in this present hi-tech age highly influential and attractive. With the commendable revolution in technology, the publicity process has become much easier even if it is advanced but with reference to the time that the advertisement we have studied was revealed in, it can be concluded that it served its purpose rather well.

References:

Berger, J. (1972). In Ways of Seeing. London: BBC & Penguin Books. pp. 129-155

Dobrow, L. (1984). When advertising tried harder: the sixties, the golden age of American advertising. New York City: Friendly Press.

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