Branding Lessons I Learned From My 1967 VW Bug

By June 10, 2016Rebel Branding, Uncategorized

It’s summer and the best thing about summer is time off (nope) the beach (nope) hanging out (nope)…

Cruzin’ in classic cars!

And they seem to be everywhere I am looking.

Just today, drenched in sweat, coming out of spin class my mouth fell open, there it was…

A fully restored 1967 VW bug, baby blue with the original surf racks!

It got me thinking about what that VW Bug had taught me about life and about branding.

When the Volkswagen car arrived on the scene from Germany to England it was pronounced by a commission of leading British motors manufacturers quite unattractive, to ugly and noisy to be commercially successful.

As a new business entrepreneur you can sometimes feel the same, kinda clumsy getting your authentic voice and brand off the ground.

bw_car_smDon’t Judge Yourself.

The other Beatles’ (at the time) were also damned by the judgment of a record executive as having “no future in show business”. Yet the moppy-tops went on to sell over two billion in record sales.

The Volkswagen Beetle became the best-selling car of all time.

When you start a business you just don’t know the path it’s going to take. Or where it’s going to take you.

Stay True to YOURSELF and Never give up.

The VW Bug also known as “The Love Bug” (10 Hollywood movies) was so simple, direct and straightforward. It was known as “the people’s car”. While other car companies were selling luxury and comfort they were selling, economy, honesty and simplicity.

The new brands making it today are about integrity, honesty and simplicity.

The brilliant advertising campaign launch in 1959 by Doyle Dane Bernbach was THINK SMALL. One of the greatest ad campaigns of all time.

During the time when cars were the fashion statements, testosterone boosters and muscles on wheels the VW was the exact opposite.

Be Uniquely YOU…Unapologetically You, with all Your Quirkiness.

We are in a marketing atmosphere today where some people want to have you think you can make millions overnight or you can just push a button and become a billionaire.

These guys at DDB were mind-bogglingly amazingly HONEST about their little ugly slow foreign car. That’s where headlines like Think Small and Presenting America’s Slowest Fastback totally grabbed people’s attention.

In the world of One Billion Websites You Must be Authentically You to get Noticed

Your copy, titles and names should be unexpected and cause curiosity. The job of your brand to is get people to sit up, take notice and know what you stand for (why you are different).

Your Brand must have a Point of View and a Unique Voice.

The “Think Small” was paradoxically an understatement that was somehow bold and shocking. Maybe owning a small car was a good thing… Heck, maybe even a great thing.

The ads for the Volkswagen were shot on stark white with lots of space: Clean design, no distractions. Remind you of anyone today?

bw_car(Right, Apple)


Another thing is Volkswagen appealed to your heart by calling itself VW. Which also made it cool, fresh, simple and friendly.

In less than a minute you went from is it socially acceptable to even own such a car?… to awe it has such a cute nickname.

Your brand messaging can do the same thing. In fact it should…Grab the hearts and minds of your tribe, your ideal clients and engage them and haunt them until they buy from you.

How can you connect more deeply with your prospects and ideal clients and develop your brand to truly represent what you are about and what you stand for?

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