Volkswagen Started a Good “Thing”
Whether you think the VW Thing, or Type 181 as it was known in Germany, was an expensive joke (they cost nearly as much as a Chevrolet Camaro at the time) or a fun, bohemian runabout there’s no arguing with their wonderful brochure art. The VW stands in sharp, metallic contrast to the hand-drawn sketches that compose the vast majority of lifestyle imagery that VW was attempting to connect to the Thing.
Volkswagen was trying to promote the Thing as a Swiss Army knife of automobiles–a go anywhere, do anything car designed to handle an active, youthful life, “Good for fun and good for work. Good for the city and good for the country.” The advertisements also quote fuel economy stats and ease of off-roading. In some ways, however there is a bit of irony to the ads as the rest of the industry was moving away from hand-drawn visuals in favor of photography.
The irony exists in the fact that VW was trying to sell it as a modern, do-anything car, but displaying it in a traditional method. Perhaps they were trying to match the Thing’s visual simplicity? Regardless, the confusing message coupled with the price and increasingly strict American safety standards led to the Thing’s demise only two years after it’s introduction. At least we can still enjoy these wonderful brochures!
Image Sources: old-brochures.myshopify.com