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"Ugly Is Only Skin Deep" - book review.

Shortish, readable account of how advertising fundamentally changed in the late 1950s when the agency Doyle Dane Bernbach gained VW as a client. They were given the opportunity to sell the Beetle to the American public. This marked a key milestone for every growing agency on Madison Avenue, they had landed a car account. The problem was that this was supposed to be an iconic, American (Detroit based) brand, something like a GM or Ford.

Bill Bernbach had already defied advertising convention by bringing copywriters and graphic designers into the same team to collaborate and co-produce. This then was the basis of how they produced creative ideas that not only changed advertising but (as the title of the book suggests)

possibly changed the world. That's a big claim and one that I was sceptical about but there might be some truth to it. At the very least they tapped into the zeitgeist and felt the growing discontentment with consumerism that was to express itself through the beat generation and then on into the cultural earthquake of the 1960s.

Informative read that takes us through some of the most iconic advertising ever created; advertising that made a small, foreign, noisy, ugly, cheap (not to mention Nazi inspired) automobile into one of the best selling cars America has ever seen.


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