Troubador Ugly Is Only Skin-Deep

Released: 28/09/2016

ISBN: 9781785893179

Format: Paperback

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Ugly Is Only Skin-Deep

The Story of the Ads that Changed the World


IT WASN’T GERMAN ENGINEERING ONLY THAT MADE THE VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE AN ICON. IT WAS A MANHATTAN ADVERTISING AGENCY, TOO. Created in 1959 by Doyle Dane Bernbach and continued through the '60s and early '70s, the campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle is considered the best of all time. More than just promoting a car, it promoted a new kind of advertising: simple, charming, intelligent and, most of all, honest. In "Ugly Is Only Skin-Deep," Dominik Imseng retraces the creation of Doyle Dane Bernbach, sneered at by the big players on Madison Avenue because of the "ethnic" background of its founders and employees, who were mostly Jewish. Readers will then learn how the agency won the Volkswagen account and how an unlikely creative team set the tone for the most admired campaign in advertising history. Finally, the book examines the evolution of the Volkswagen campaign and how it managed to convince more and more Americans that smaller was better. In fact, the Volkswagen campaign didn't only fundamentally change the ethos of advertising, it also helped trigger the cultural revolution of the 1960s.

“Dominik Imseng has done an amazing job of weaving personality, history and practice into a wonderfully written book.” —Steven Heller, design writer and co-chair MFA Design/Designer as Author + Entrepreneur, School of Visual Arts, NYC

“I can’t recommend it highly enough. Get it.” —Neil French, former Worldwide Creative Director of WPP and author of "Sorry for the Lobsters"

“A timely as well as masterful piece of work.” —Richard Huntington, Chief Strategy Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi London

“A superbly written and well researched history of the unique DDB/VW Beetle relationship.” —George Parker, author of "MadScam," "The Ubiquitous Persuaders" and "Confessions of a Mad Man"

“Dominik Imseng helps us understand why the Volkswagen campaign changed advertising.” —Dave Dye, author of "Stuff from the Loft"

“With any luck, this book will inspire a new generation of revolutionaries.” —Dave Birss, Editor at Large of "The Drum" and author of "A User Guide to the Creative Mind"

“If the author’s command of his subject is masterful, then his ability to tell it as a story is even more impressive.” —Steve Harrison, author of "How to Do Better Creative Work" and "Changing the World is the Only Fit Work for a Grown Man"

“Damn good book.” —Ed McCabe, Co-Founder, President, Worldwide Creative Director of Scali, McCabe, Sloves, Inc.


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Dominik Imseng

Dominik Imseng received a M.A. in Philosophy, German Literature and History of Art from the University of Zurich. He works as a copywriter and journalist in Switzerland and regularly interviews advertising greats. Dominik has never owned a Volkswagen Beetle. In fact, he doesn't even know how to drive.

Dominik Imseng
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