George Parker: VW ads: the best book on advertising since “Confessions of a Mad Man!”

In today’s data fixated, social media obsessed and increasingly fucked up ad agency universe, in “Ugly Is Only Skin Deep,” Dominik Imseng has not only given us a superbly written and well researched history of the unique DDB, VW “Beetle” relationship of the 60’s and 70’s, he has unequivocally reminded us of that oh so brief golden age of advertising when agencies and their clients enjoyed a mutually beneficial business relationship.


unnamed-1One based on trust and respect, rather than inherently false pecuniary ends based on bullshit and banality. It was about ideas, rather than data. That’s why his statement on the very last page of his book rings so true in today’s data driven environment… Advertising must do more than simply try to get people’s attention – it must try to get their respect. Amen to that.

Recommended reading to everyone, but particularly for those who were not even born in the age of “Think Small.” Finally, I will leave you with the words of DDB’s obituary for Bill Bernbach in 1982… He said, “The real giants have always been poets, men who jumped from facts into the realm of imagination and ideas.” He elevated advertising to high art and our jobs to a profession. He made a difference. Amen to that too.

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