Buyer Behaviour

This campaign came at a time when American customers were being enticed to ‘think big’ and flaunt their status by owning big possessions. This ad stood out from the rest simply because it had sufficient white space and was colored black and white deliberately to differentiate it from other ads in U.S which used exotic colors, pleasant visuals, large logos, and huge illustrations. Although the black and white ads may have been disappointing for some customers. they created a high level of contrast owing to the use of white space that allowed visuals to pop from the sheet. Headlines that were hand-lettered were also common (Einstein, 2010) (Appendix 1). Furthermore, photography was at an infancy level and majority of the ads employed illustrations or artwork to convey the message to the intended audience (Batra, 2004). This ad, however, appeared to be realistic during such times when other ads were overly fantasized. Furthermore, at that time cars were not just used as a means of family transport (such as dropping children to school) but as a status symbol and fashion statement. Hence, the product attributes shown did not pertain to lifestyle. It has not been portrayed as a vital object in the everyday life of a smiling, happy and middle class family. The masculine persona associated with cars meant that they had to be stylish and muscles on wheels (Holt, 2004). The brand Beetle however was just the opposite. The name had been inspired from a bug and the size was tiny compared with other cars- both these factors shunned the masculine identity that had since long been attached to cars. Yet the clever use of contrast (black and white) along with sophisticated and a persuasive ad copy did the task of making Beetle a matter of American pride. Rather than positioning the product against a colorful backdrop with a high dose of colors, the car (in black) stands out against the plain white background which creates the perception of customers seeing the product in a new light. This allowed buyers to evaluate the product against other alternatives. Furthermore, the underdog attitude of talking to people by not talking them not won the hearts of several customers (Prell, 2011). This ad was different from its predecessors in that it is neither overloaded with information nor does it rely on recurring exposure for persuading the audience. The ad incorporates an emotional appeal and at the same time conveys the benefit of the product of being compact rather than oversized as well as affordable. Affordability, however, was not a concern for customers in America at that time since all their purchases had been halted during the WWII which led to increased spending after the war. The need that the product catered to was the small parking space it would take along with fewer repair and insurance bills (McQueen, 2012) (Bergh, 1992). The ad compares Beetle- the ‘small’ car with other big cars. The ad copy accompanying Lemon- the ‘big’ car reveals the need replace the chrome strip on the glove compartment because it was flawed (Appendix 2). Through this, the company intended to show that if this is what Volkswagen thinks of a lemon, the Beetle must be created with perfection that this ‘lemon’ car lacked. The law of candor was used by the company in this