Bill Bernbach’s famous American advertising agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), made a virtue of promoting perceived negatives and turning them into positives. DDB’s legendary early 1960s ads for the VW beetle, ‘Think Small’ and ‘Lemon’ used wit, humility and simple black and white imagery to engage readers. To this day VW advertising remains witty, informative and engaging. It always addresses its audiences with intelligence, it never hectors.
Their central brand message is unchanging: value and reliability. How their advertising will tackle the ‘emission-fixing’ scandal of late 2015 will make an interesting case history.