Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Volkswagen (VW) Funeral Spot: The Best TV Spot Ever with Creative Credits

Here is, in my mind, the best TV spot ever created. Produced by Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1969, at the height of the remarkable agency's creative power, it typifies the magnificent "Think Small" campaign the agency created for Volkswagen. The primary rule of advertising that was broken: don't touch death...it's the third rail of advertising. Very few have tried again. That's because it's so damned hard to pull off.

What a remarkable concept...a spot narrated by a dead billionaire cynically commenting on the key players in his funeral procession (Roy Grace drew his inspiration from seeing an actual lineup of cars). Iconoclastic idea. Executed flawlesssly. Fabulous casting, a terrific voiceover from a dead man and spectacular camera work, especially the brilliant helicopter shot that concludes the spot--with the Volkswagen Beetle very appropriately trailing the procession.

Praise these people, some in memoriam:

Art director: Roy Grace
Designer: Roy Grace
Copywriter: John Noble
Director: Howard Zieff
Agency producers: Susan Calhoun, Don Trevor
Production studio: Howard Zieff Productions
Cinematographer: Lawrence Williams Jr.
Client: Volkswagen of America


Austin Girl said...

The brilliant genius behind this ad had this theme in mind when he wrote it: 'Cash is King.' It's real simple. So, he took that theme and wrote this piece.

Volkswagon is not a 'status' symbol vehicle. We all know that. They know that. So, what Volkswagon needs to impress upon folks is... 'The value of your hard-earned dollar is well spent with our vehicle.'

The kid wasnt' riding in the back of the limo with the women. Where did the creative director place him? In the Volkswagon. Why? Because this kid was not easily impressed with status symbol. Or money. What impresses him most is the value of the dollar. Just like his grandfather who beqeathed him all his money. The kid was a 'loyal' family member. His grandfather respected him for that.

Cash is King. Don't show me your balance sheet -- show me your money. It's an old saying. The kid valued money over status. -- Austin Girl

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ed said...

this is an old ad! wow. but it still very interesting, thanks for the visit scott!

Scott Lackey said...

What's amazing to me about so much of the work done by Doyle Dane Bernbach in the 60's and early 70's is just how far ahead of its time the creative really was. Recast, re-prop and of course update the cars...and you'd have a You Tube viral with millions of hits.

Soapsoane said...

Lovely ad, lovely blog.
thankyou thank you thankyou for being big enough to think of the past and how it's still important today in our (beta) 2.0 world!

Kind regards


Scott Lackey said...

Thanks Soapsoane...really appreciate your comment.