11.04.2012

"Slug Bug, No Slug Back!"


Many view the Volkswagen (VW) Beetle, first built by the Germans in 1931, as an ugly or delicate type car, but fact trumps over everything.  The Volkswagen Beetle is actually the bestselling and longest lived car in the history of the automobile industry. In the first season of the AMC television series Mad Men, Episode 3, the guests at Bobby's birthday party (Carlton, Chet and Jack) are caught making fun of Helen Bishop for driving a Volkswagen Beetle. In the episode there is a reference made by Chet at the party by saying, "The last time I saw one of those things (Volkswagen) I was throwing a grenade into it." This line, although it seems of no significance, is actually quite informative.  The history of the beetle car is an interesting one.  It actually began being produced in the 1930's and it was used exclusively by Nazi Germany in World War II.  This is why it is believed that the beetle car actually had a lot of trouble selling when it first was released into the world market. 


Image credit: http://img.ffffound.com/static-data/assets/6/7d7d2a8cb6204602e8ad0afd0a8b16f0442bbc73_m.gif
 
The car that was at first most hated by just about everyone around the world turned it around and became the bestselling car in the automotive industry, even beating Ford's Model T.  How could this possibly happen?  One word: Advertisement. During the 1960's the Beetle had just started to become quite a bit popular through witty advertisement. In Benjamin Preston's article "The VW Beetle Started with the Nazis, Boomed under MadMen and Died in Mexico," he mentions the low points and how it managed through advertisement to reach a bestselling status. In the television series Mad Men, Episode 3 Marriage at Figaro, Don discusses the VW Beetle with his coworkers. They are trying to find something wrong with the famous "Lemon" VW ad.  The guys can't seem to find a thing and Don says, “Love it or hate it (The Ad), the fact is we have been talking about this for the last 15 minutes." This is the type of advertising that brought the VW out of being just about bankrupt to being one of the most successful car industries in the world. 

Image credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UKmC6-td_bM/TilzokfdAuI/AAAAAAAADLo/xkrmDllQOCY/s1600/HitlerPorscheVW1938.png
 
The beetle in present day is actually looked at as an affordable and economical car. Nowadays, most people couldn't tell you that the beetle was first produced by the Nazi's. In fact today the VW Beetle has grown so popular today that even kids play games with relation to it. VW still dedicates a lot of time and money towards advertisement. VW always has an ad during the super bowl, which is considered the best time in the world to advertise.  VW is a company that has made one of the greatest comebacks of all time.  They did this not through a bail out or through creating something new, but through advertisement. Don portrays this type of effective advertisement when he presents his pitch on The Wheel. Don takes something seemingly useless and turns it into a present day slide show of pictures.  

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