Digital and Analog Storytelling

The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged

THE INVADERS: The “Lemon” Ad


So, before you freak out, what the hell is that, here’s the original advertisement:

vw lemon

If you don’t know this ad, it’s a famous VW ad called “Think Small.”

It has all kinds of vectors that make it a really important ad in the history of advertising, helping to spark the “creative revolution” in the advertising/marketing industry.

The historical context wasn’t that interesting to me, though. I was more interested in the campaign: “Think Small.” This had all kinds of hilarious interactions with “The Invaders,” the most obvious of which is the difference between selling the virtues of smallness (in the VW ad) and having smallness thrust upon you (so to speak, in “The Invaders”).

I decided to use a battered image of the flying disk (disc?), in order to add another layer of irony. This vehicle doesn’t look all spit-shined and polished like the VW bug does in the “Lemon” ad; this one is obviously beat to heck, crushed on one side of it. You don’t need anybody to tell you that you shouldn’t buy this one.

One thing I noticed while making this ad was that THERE WAS A LOT OF AD COPY IN 1960. It’s not quite a pamphlet, but that’s a lot of writing. In contemporary advertising the image is all of it, with maybe one sentence of explanation if it’s a thinker. Usually, the story is entirely in the image.

Making it was pretty easy. I used photoshop to cut and paste the saucer from a screenshot that I took of the movie. I used the clone stamp tool to get rid of the car in the original (I’m terrible with the clone stamp; forgive me, forgive me). The text is Gautami, which isn’t a great fit, but good enough for an evening’s fun. I made it 80% opacity, so that it would look faded.

Anyway, this was a blast, getting back into the ds106 swing of things after getting back from vacation in Asheville. I’m excited to see what everybody’s been working on!

But that will have to wait for tomorrow. For now, good night, y’all.



2 comments on “THE INVADERS: The “Lemon” Ad

  1. Andrew Forgrave
    May 24, 2013

    Well done! As a VW driver, I am familiar with the ad — among others, they have it posted on the wall in the local dealership. After quickly comparing the tiny text beneath yours and the original, I clicked on yours to see the larger version and read your very fine fine print. Hilarious! SAMR and claymore and whatever that other swordish thing was (I didn’t google it) all gathered together in a faux volks haul ad.

    Hats off to you, Brian.

    • B Short
      May 24, 2013

      Hey thanks Andrew! I’m glad you dug it. I’ve been reading a bit about the history of advertising and watching the invaders just sort clicked. Think small.

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This entry was posted on May 24, 2013 by in design, ds106 and tagged , , , , , .
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