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Men's Life Style - Cars

Jan 29th 2012 at 10:23 PM
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News Flash: Volvos Are Actually Cool

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The Eco-Friendly Car We've All Been Waiting For

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A Snowmobile Bond Would Approve Of

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The Car For Today's Broke Millennials

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You Can Now Drive An Aston Race Car

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Is This The Car Of The Future?

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The Awesome New Supercar That's About To Put Slovenia On The Map

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Introducing: The World's Fastest Limo

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This Is What Happens When Ferrari Goes Sci-Fi

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The Hottest Rides From The North American Auto Show

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The Story Behind The Most Controversial Car Ever

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Excerpted from Thinking Small by Andrea Hiott Copyright © 2012 by Andrea Hiott. Reprinted with permission from Ballantine Books, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.          When the idea of introducing the Beetle to America was first toyed with in the late 1950s, it represented the antithesis of everything major American car agencies deemed important. Its U.S. sales were low, the model was un-American and foreign at a time when foreign companies just weren't a market that big American advertisers invested in -- and the anger that WWII had fostered still simmered. After all, this was the car that The New York Times had referred to as the "Baby Hitler" in 1938. And it was ugly. When people were being generous, they referred to the car as "a motorized tortoise" or a "pregnant roller skate." But the Volkswagen car, a car Americans would later nickname the "The Beetle," was about to experience its U.S. rebirth.Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Beetle arrives in stores on Tuesday. Buy it here.William Bernbach did not look like a revolutionary. His sober meticulous suits and conservative ties did not catch the eye or distinguish him from any of the other advertising men walking New York City's bustling streets in the 1950s. Thin and compact, with short dark hair neatly combed to one side, Bill had a small physique that was almost childlike. True, he was the creative head of his own advertising agency-Doyle Dane Bernbach, soon to be familiarly known as DDB-but he didn't come off as a typical executive of the time: his evenings were rarely full of expensive dinner parties or multiple martinis, he wasn't embroiled in a string of heated affairs, he didn't own a pristine country home, or live in a fancy penthouse uptown. Instead, for much of his life, Bill lived in an anonymous neighborhood in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, he took the subway into work each day, and he left on time every night to go home and have dinner with his kids and his wife.Bill may not have looked like the kind of man who could catch the world's attention, but he was, and by the late 1950s, people were beginning to notice him. Unlike the rest of the cookie-cutter ad agencies on Madison Avenue, DDB had a fresh sense of purpose filling its rooms, drawing people in. Walking into their offices in those days, through the haze of cigarette smoke, past the ringing phones and the interactive rush of talented young men and women, one always found Bill Bernbach at the center of the buzz, his Brooklyn-tinged voice-simultaneously gentle and disarming-leaking out of his office and into the halls, his door always open. There was something alluring about his clear, blue-eyed gaze, and as the years passed, Bill rose to be known as the creative center of his agency, the person all the art directors and copywriters wanted to speak to about their work, the man who could get that work into print, or make it disappear without a trace. Bill was confident, and his confidence became DDB's backbone. It's what made so many want to be near him-his approval was a good luck charm of sorts-but it was also what made people hide from him at times, unsure or unready to face his clear and veracious eye. There were no rules with Bill; only vigilance.The crew at DDB was a motley and roughish bunch, in no way typical of most advertising agencies in New York. In certain younger circles, DDB was considered one of the only ad agencies where a person could work on something different, something exciting, something "meaningful," if you dared to use that term. Whereas other successful agencies at the time were full of serious-faced men in expensive suits, DDB was more like an experimental powwow. Art and writing were respected as crafts within themselves rather than as the means to a financial end. DDB employees worked in teams; they communicated and sparred. Those who witnessed this process called it creative, in a way that the advertising world had never really seen before.DDB was different, and different was exciting. But that didn't mean the agency was going to leave its mark. In the larger scheme of things, DDB was more likely to be beaten by the establishment than it was to change it. After all, in 1959, the majority of Americans had never encountered a DDB ad. When it came to the heavyweights of economics and industries, DDB was small: They didn't have any of the accounts that mattered-no car company from Detroit, no major tobacco brand, no national retail chain.And there was something else, too. In business terms, DDB was often dismissed as a quirky place that did "ethnic" advertising, a crude way of saying that most people considered DDB a Jewish company that did "unabashedly, recognizably Jewish" ads. Most of their clients were Jewish. Bill Bernbach was Jewish. And many on the staff were Jewish as well. Thus DDB's success was a local success: advertisements for El Al airlines or Ohrbach's department store caught the eye but had a limited scope, catering strictly to Manhattan and its boroughs. Bernbach's shop was no more a threat to the established giants than were the strange beatniks and folk singers who had started congregating downtown.Advertising was incredibly lucrative in those days though, and the big agencies were prospering. Their ads showed beautiful and successful people enjoying a product, and upon seeing such stimulation, customers were supposed to be stimulated too. This underlying equation of "consumption equals happiness" had proven appeal: America's culture of materialism was thriving, fed on eye-popping advertisements for big houses, big cars, big smiles, and big words. It was the decade of dazzle, and yet as that decade entered its final year, some began to wonder if any of it had been real. The country's foundations no longer seemed so solid. A recession eventually set in, and it wasn't solely economic. The spirit of the country began to change; there was a sense of disquiet. As poet Allen Ginsberg wrote in the Village Voice in 1959: "No one in America knows what will happen. No one is in real control." The country was begging for a shift in perspective, and that would mean taking risks and thinking strange.And what does this have to do with The Beetle? That's next...

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The Beetle As You've Never Seen It Before

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The Real-Life, Man-Sized, All-TerrainTransformer

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Lexus' New Game Changer

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Your Guide To The World's Most Innovative Cars

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Finally, The Aston Martin Of Our Dreams Has Arrived

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Act Now And You Could Own A Piece Of Your Favorite Movie

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Bulletproof Cars Are No Longer Just For Presidents

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Exclusive Photos: The 2 Newest, Most Insanely Tricked-Out Military SUVs

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The 2012 Toyota We Can't Wait To Get Our Hands On

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Eco-Friendly Just Became Sexy

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Introducing The World's Coolest Boat

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The Toyota You Can Customize At The Click Of A Button

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Red Bull Racing's 20 Most Unstoppable Moments of 2011

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Get The First Look At The Awesome New Land Rover

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