I pasted this excerpt from Derrick Daye's blog post on the 1960's VW ad's:
It’s 1960, and you’re flipping through LIFE magazine. You’re stopped by an advertisement that doesn’t look like any of the other ads in the magazine. There’s lots of white space, a tiny off-center image of the car itself (which, by the way, is an odd-looking little vehicle), and an understated two-word headline, “Think small.”
The ad stands out because this isn’t what ads are supposed to be like in 1960. It’s neither splashy nor dreamy; it has none of those familiar ad images of folks laughing and frolicking, women’s hair blowing in the breeze, gorgeous scenery—all those too-good-to-be-true images that were associated with ads at the time. Moreover, the ad seems to be speaking a new language: it’s more straightforward and down-to-earth than ad copy is supposed to be, but at the same time, it’s also smarter, sharper, and more clever.
Just from reading the ad, you feel like maybe you get some sense of the people who made it, as well as the people who made the car. They’re not like everybody else; they seem to be zigging while all others are zagging—which is kind of the way you see yourself. In a time of conformity and “keeping up with the Joneses,” this ad is about going your own way. You may or not buy this car, but there’s something going on in this ad that you’re connecting with, and that you might want to be part of.