There is far more to the creative process than learning how to use software and configure hardware. This blog addresses them.


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Journey author Robert Davis is the owner and creative director of Atlanta agency, Davis Advertising, Inc.


Contact Robert by email for more information.


Journey from Concept to Creation

There is far more to the creative process than learning how to use software and configure hardware. This blog addresses them.

The Ad of the Century, continued...

Only published comments... Jul 28 2014, 11:27 AM by Adman

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On my earlier blog entries, I used the legendary "Think Small" VW ad, to demonstrate the principles of advertising and graphic design and how they are used. I also pointed out the truly masterful copywriting by Julian Koenig. [Koenig also created the famous, "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking" tagline for the Tmex "torture test" ads in the 60's.]

    Listed  in 1999 as the number one ad of the century by Advertising Age Magazine, this ad is still widely considered to be the the best ad of all time.



    Detroit had been busy for years rolling out big, ostentatious cars for the American consumer in a time when "big and ostentatious" was the status quo. Everyone seemed to not only want to "keep up with the Joneses", but to show the Joneses that they had a bigger, more luxurious and more powerful car.
    When Koenig (a Jew) and Krone visted the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, they told Bernback that while they hadn't yet created any ads, the marketing problem was quite clear... "sell a Nazi car in a Jewish town." Bernback was not amused. He put them to work creating a positioning slogan, using simple black and white magazine ads in a sea of color ads to drive home (no pun intended) the USP which would sell a strong consumer benefit to the US automotive consumer. Little did they know that the "Think Small" and "Lemon" campaigns would create runaway success for the VW Beetle. Starch readership studies would find that the ads had much higher readership scores than most editorial pieces in the various consumer magazines in which they appeared.

    Bernback followed this ad up with yet another iconic ad -- the VW "Lemon" ad with the famous tagline, "We pluck the Lemons, you get the plums."


Ad copy

This Volkswagen missed the boat.

The chrome strip on the glove compartment is blemished and must be replaced. Chances are you wouldn't have noticed it; Inspector Kurt Kroner did.

There are 3,389 men of our Wolfsburg factory with only one job; to inspect Volkswagens at each stage of production. (3,000 Volkswagens are produced daily; there are more inspectors than cars.)

Every shock absorber is tested (spot checking won't do), every windshield is scanned. VWs have been rejected for surface scratches barely visible to the eye.

Final inspection is really something! VW inspectors run each car off the line onto the Funktionsprüfstand (car test stand), tote up 189 check points, gun ahead to the automatic brake stand and say "no" to one VW out of fifty.

This preoccupation with detail means the VW lasts longer and requires less maintenance, by and large, than other cars. (It also means a used VW depreciates less than any other car.)

We pluck the lemons; you get the plums.




Think it over Hmm. These revolutionary ads changed the way we make ads. Because of the stark contrast to the colorful magazine ads of the era, these comparatively simple ads stood out, broke through the clutter and arrested the reader's attention. Krone used the principle of "sequence" to lead the readers eye into the headline which contained a strong and compelling benefit, leaving the reader with little choice but to read the beautifully written, simple and minimalistic copy...  effectively selling this simple and minimalistic automobile. They "invented" the popular concept of today's advertising design that "less is more."

Here are a few more classic VW ads from Bernbach and friends...







Intellectual Property | Long Island Mac Tech said:

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September 26, 2014 9:43 AM

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About Adman

After developing his artistic abilities from an early age, Robert Davis (Adman) started his advertising career as a graphic artist for a commercial printing company while in 10th grade. He later acquired degrees in Commercial Art and (later) Business Administration (Marketing with focus on computer science) while working in various advertising agency capacities. Robert started his own agency in 1989. He added an in-house Pro Tools® recording studio in 1999 and an Avid Xpress® DV video editing suite in 2002. He now also has two Avid Media Composer suites and an Xpress Studio HD suite in a fully equipped studio which also features SoftImage|XSI and Pro Tools. He believes that his company, Davis Advertising, Inc., represents a new model for the 21st century advertising agency…”a small, agile and responsive agency wit1h comprehensive, in-house capabilities.” He says, “Avid® software provides the creative freedom and flexibility I covet.” His focus is on developing effective creative ideas via his own strategic planning process. He loves being surrounded by cameras, lights, props and other creative professionals who share his vision. He also, of course, loves working with Avid® software to bring his ideas to life. Currently residing in metro-Atlanta, Robert is an accomplished writer, producer and creative director. His advertising agency has served Fortune 500 accounts and has received several international awards. His work has been exhibited at the prestigious Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. When not riding his vintage Italian racing bike, or working out with free weights, Robert can often be found in the late evening singing or playing drums, guitars and keyboards in the studio.

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