Tag Archives: Volkswagen

Music Makes the Ad

Advertising is supposed to be an emotional experience, you aren’t selling just a product, you are selling a better life through your product. The Adman’s job is to convince you that the person you want to be is on the other end of this exchange. And nothing drives home a shiny new image faster than the music chosen to lend atmosphere to a commercial.

As The Ad Storytime heads into our fall lineup, I’m planning on using our Friday’s together to explore commercials that have used music to their best advantage as well as our usual highlights of specific ads that have caught my fancy.

For example, this beautiful ad for Volkswagen’s Cabriolet from 1999 featuring Nick Drake’s haunting “Pink Moon.”

Called “Milky Way” this is considered one of the best commercials of all time, and not one word is ever said by any actor. The song perfectly frames a dreamy, sepia-toned evening among friends who realize they have found a fragile peace together.  The car is barely shown except through brief glimpses of moonlight but it perfectly states its message: it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the voyage.

Thanks to the popularity of this commercial, “Pink Moon” shot to number five on Amazon’s top sellers list shortly after the ad began airing, nearly 30 years after the song was first released! Furthermore, it helped settle a long held debate among ad nerds: does popular music have a place in advertising? If chosen wisely and done with care the answer is a shouting “Heck yeah!!”

Volkswagen started giving Cabriolet buyers CD** compilations of songs they have used in their commercials, which is now the only thing I want for Christmas.

What commercials do you think have rocked great music? Let me know in the comments  below or on Aunt Mary’s Facebook page!

For previous Ad Stories that talk about music check out:

I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke

Khakis Swing

**Millennials, please tell me I don’t have to explain what a CD is!


An Ad that Changed the World – Really

In 1964 Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater were locked in battle for the presidential election of the US. With two months until election day, LBJ released an ad that would not only lock him in for the seat, but also change the face of political advertising.

Named “Peace Little Girl” it became to be known simply as “The Daisy Ad.” A young girl counts the petals on a flower as the camera comes in for a close up. When the camera reaches just her eye, a military countdown begins ending in a mushroom cloud of an atomic bomb with a voice-over of LBJ speaking about loving each other or perishing together.

While the race was never particularly close, LBJ’s lead widened after the ad aired and he easily won re-election come November.

What makes this ad amazing is two-fold.

  1. It only aired the one time, on NBC during the Monday Night Movie.
  2. It never once mentioned Barry Goldwater’s name, but the message was clear – he will take us to war.

The commercial was created by advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach, who are famous for their simple, yet compelling, graphic-driven ads. One of their most enduring and well known campaigns is for Volkswagen, making the teeny Beetle a hot ticket despite the US culture of huge cars and a not-too-distant memory of WWII.


The girl from the Daisy Ad reemerged in October of 2016 in a campaign ad for Hillary Clinton.