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Salim Bueno

Official Volkswagen Beetle Cult Brand Profile

VW brand lovers


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VW Beetle Quick Stats

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) was the creator of the bettle

With over 21 million manufactured, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform anywhere in the world.

Henry Ford considers buying VW, but then declined; 24 years later, Beetle would out-sell Ford Model T.

With its sealed floor pans and body, the Beetle could indeed stay afloat for several minutes, as was advertised in the Sixties.

The VW Beetle Herbie has starred in six movies.

VW Beetle Cult Brand Summary

Today the Beetle is regarded as arguably the best-selling car of all time, but back in 1948 it was unknown in the U.S., and many sales types believed no one would ever buy, partly because of its association with Nazi Germany–being dubbed “the people’s car” by Adolph Hitler–still fresh in the public’s mind.

Despite initial failures at introducing the Beetle into America, Volkswagen remained undeterred. They brought twenty Beetles to the U.S. to a private showing in New York City and then to the First U.S. International Trade Fair in Chicago. It wasn’t an overnight success, but it started to get attention from the press and generated word-of-mouth buzz.

Given the opportunity to actually see and drive a Beetle, a significant chunk of the American public soon found themselves in love with the reliable and affordable little, German car. Virtually everything about the Beetle’s design screamed it was a car like no other: its air-cooled engine was mounted in the back, not the front, like every other domestic gas guzzler of the period, a configuration that made it more adept than any U.S.-made car of the time for safe driving in rain, sleet, and snow; it’s exterior design was unique, with its egg-shaped body standing in sharp contrast to the large and sleek, chrome-covered domestic behemoths of the period. The Beetle’s appearance oozed a curious combination of personality and practicality, which quickly helped build strong affection for it among its owners.

In addition to developing a unique design (the look), Volkswagen focused on developing a unique marketing message (the say and the feel) for the Beetle. In contrast to the advertising of the Detroit automakers of the 1950s and 1960s, which was full of slick copy and boastful claims, Volkswagen’s ads for the Beetle were frank, direct, and honest. Some of the more memorable early print ads included “Think small,” “Some shapes are hard to improve on,” and the cult-branding clincher, “Do you earn too much to afford one?”

The combination of unique design elements and honest advertising became a killer combination. By the early 1960s, the Beetle became a magnet for legions of Americans who saw themselves as being different. As Bug Talesauthor Paul Klebahn summed up: “The Beetle tended to appeal to freethinkers. This was the thinking person’s car. Instead of saying, look how much I paid for my car, it was look how much I didn’t pay!”

When Volkswagen launched the New Beetle in 1998, they made a conscious decision not to show any drivers in its ads. They wanted their funky-shaped and lovable car to be the center of attention, not an actor or actress. “In the New Beetle’s initial advertising, we never included people in the ads because we didn’t want a person to say, ‘Oh, that’s who drives a Beetle,'” explained Steve Keys, Director of Corporate Communications. “We wanted you to be able to say, ‘I can see myself in that car.'”

It was a good move: everyone from teenagers buying their first car to aging baby boomers hoping to recapture their youth purchased the car. Volkswagen benefited from not shrinking its potential audience of buyers: No one had trouble seeing themselves behind the wheel of a New Beetle.

VW Beetle Timeline

Timeline provided by:

1933 – Dr. Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) draws first sketches of a simple little car that even the most common of citizens could own and enjoy on the autobahns.

1934 – Adolf Hitler commissions Porsche to develop the KdF-Wagen (“Kraft durch Freude” or “Strength through joy”), forerunner of what we know today as the Beetle.

1936 – At Berlin Auto Show, Hitler announces that Porsche will design “the People’s Car;” Porsche promises Hitler he will produce three prototypes by year’s end.

1937 – First road test on prototypes

1938 – Thirty prototypes (called Series 30) completed

1939 – May 28: Ceremony commemorates laying of cornerstone of VW factory at Wolfsburg (would later become largest auto factory under one roof)

1940 – KdF-Wagen appears at Berlin Auto Show. Germany goes to war.

1942 – German army vehicles Kubelwagens built; German amphibious army vehicles Schwimmwagens built

1944 – Allied bombs destroy more than 2/3 of Wolfsburg factory
1945 – May: World War II ends. British forces take control of Wolfsburg area. Porsche interrogated by Allied Forces for his alleged connections to Nazis. Porsche is cleared, but then imprisoned in France with son Ferry for two years.

1946 – 1,785 cars constructed, mostly by hand; used as army light transport

1947 – Wolfsburg produces 19,000 cars; exported to Holland. Two hand-made convertibles constructed.

1948 – 20,000th Beetle produced. Beetle modified into convertible.Henry Ford considers buying VW, but then declines; 24 years later, Beetle would out-sell Ford Model T.

1949 – January 17: First Beetle bought in USA by Ben Pon. Max Hoffman becomes first importer.

1950 – 100,000th Beetle produced. 1,000 convertibles produced. Porsche celebrates 75th birthday; finally visits Wolfsburg plant; cries when he sees Beetles on Autobahn… his dream becomes reality.

1951 – January 10: Ferdinand Porsche dies.

1952 – First official gathering of Beetle owners. Canada imports its first Beetle.

1955 – April: VW of America formed. 1,000,000th Beetle produced.

1953 – 500,000th Beetle produced. VW plant opens in Sao Paulo, Brasil.

1957 – 2,000,000th Beetle produced

1959 – 3,000,000th Beetle produced

1960 – 4,000,000th Beetle produced

1961 – 5,000,000th Beetle produced

1962 – VW of America headquarters at Englewood Cliffs, NJ, dedicated. 6,000,000th Beetle produced.

1963 – 7,000,000th Beetle produced

1964 – 8,000,000th and 9,000,000th Beetles produced

1965 – 10,000,000th Beetles produced

1966 – 11,000,000th and 12,000,000th Beetles produced

1970 – Last year convertible Beetle in standard format is available (only convertible Beetles in Super Beetle format are available). Super Beetle produced.

1972 – February 12: 15,007,034th Beetle rolls off assembly line,breaks Ford Model T record for total production.

1974 – June: 11,916,519th Beetle produced at Wolfsburg rolls off assembly line, signaling the end of Beetle production at Wolfsburg plant.

1975 – Last year for Super Beetle production

1977 – Last year for standard Beetle in USA; only Super Beetle convertibles remain.

1978 – At Emden VW plant in Germany, last official German-built Beetle rolls off assembly line

1981 – 20,000,000th Beetle produced (in Puebla, Mexico)

1998 – Production model of New Beetle unveiled at Detroit International Auto Show

1999 – New Beetle turbo available to US dealerships

2003 – July 30: Last Beetle (21,529,464th!) rolls off assembly line (in Puebla, Mexico)

2012 – New VW Beetle design is unveiled at the New York Auto Show.

Images of VW Beetle Brand Lovers

Videos Created By VW Beetle Brand Lover

Presentations About VW Beetle As a Brand

Article related to VW Beetle

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Browse Cult Brands

Creating Cults

Cults are all around us. I’m not talking about destructive cults that damage people’s lives. I’m referring to benign, even life-supportive groups that give people more meaning.

Raving-fan groups of Star Trek, Lady Gaga, Jimmy Buffett, Harry Potter, Oprah, American Girl, Jay-Z, Apple, Barbie, and Harley Davidson all qualify as benign cults.

Some people might judge the tens of thousands of people who dress up as Vulcan and Klingons to attend Star Trek conventions, but Paramount Pictures happily supports them and profits from their loyalty.

From a business perspective, the hard truth is that creating cults translates to greater profitability. What brand wouldn’t love to create a cult-like following?

We’ve explored the science behind cult formations for over a decade, unearthing seven core principles that operate behind this unusual level of brand loyalty.

If you’re in the New York City area next Wednesday, April 2nd, Cult Branding originator BJ Bueno will be joining an engaging panel discussion on Creating Cults. The full-day event titled The Big Shopping Shakeup is being hosted at The TimesCenter by The New York Times, McCann Worldgroup, and Momentum.

You can request an invitation here.

Watch BJ Bueno and Bert Jacob’s Keynote at NRF’s Retail’s Big Show 2014



Couldn’t make it to this year’s National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City? No problem.

The keynote opened with SAP’s SVP of Retail Business Unit Lori Mitchell-Keller’s discussion of the millennials and how the new socially-conscious consumer has been wired since birth and is comfortably connected through social media.

In their keynote address, marketing strategist BJ Bueno explains the vital role core values plays in today’s business. He highlights three humanistic core values that are trending high among successful enterprises like Google, Coca-Cola, and many others: compassion, joy, and optimism.

Life is good CEO Bert Jacobs shares the inspiring story of how his $100 million lifestyle brand came into being and the ten core values that drive their business.

Watch BJ Bueno and Bert Jacob’s keynote address on NRF’s website >>


Recorded at Retail’s BIG Show on January 14, 2014.

BJ Bueno and CEO Dave Ratner Share Marketing Secrets at NRF 2014

Marketing thought leader BJ Bueno and CEO Dave Ratner reveal the advertising and marketing secrets for independent retailers at this year’s NRF Big Show Convention & Expo.

New York City, NY (PRWEB) January 09, 2014Marketing-Speaker-BJ-Bueno-Dave-Ratner-NRF-2014

Where do independent retailers go to get inspiration and knowledge for growing their retail businesses? Thousands of independent retailers will be attending the 2014 National Retail Federation Conference and Expo at Jacob Javits Center in New York City from January 12th to the 15th.

Marketing speaker, author, and founder of The Cult Branding Company, BJ Bueno, will share the stage with President and CEO of Dave’s Soda & Pet City, Dave Ratner, to illuminate the strategies and methods independent retailers can use to improve sales, customer loyalty, and profitability in their dynamic breakout session, “How to Advertise and Market Your Retail Business.”

As a loyalty expert and marketing consultant to major retail brands like Kohl’s Department Stores and Scheels, Bueno will share how focusing on your customer’s wants and needs is the secret behind explosive market growth. “Independent retailers can compete with large big box retailers if they invest in better understanding their target customers and finding creative ways to better meet their needs,” Bueno says.

A seasoned entrepreneur with almost four decades of retail experience, Ratner will share how independent retailers can use simple and cost effective methods to achieve consistent sales growth.

In this practical session, Bueno and Ratner will share the ten most effective ways to spend advertising dollars and how to create an amazing in-store retail experience that keep customers coming back.

BJ Bueno and Life is good CEO Bert Jacobs Host Keynote at National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention

In their keynote address, BJ Bueno and Bert Jacobs share insights on how CEOs can use core values to grow their retail businesses.


New York City, NY (PRWEB) January 08, 2014

Where do the nation’s top CEOs of major retail businesses go to share their experiences and gain new marketing insights? The National Retail Federation (NRF) is hosting their annual convention, “Retail’s Big Show,” at Jacob Javits Center in New York City from January 12th to 15th.

Marketing thought leader, author, and founder of The Cult Branding Company, BJ Bueno, hosts an exciting keynote address, joined to the stage by CEO and cofounder of the successful lifestyle brand Life is good, Bert Jacobs.

Today’s retailers must work hard to understand the subconscious motivations and needs of their customers. In their engaging talk, “Optimism, Compassion, and Joy: How Selling the Right Mindset Can Grow Your Brand,” Bueno and Jacobs will illuminate how knowledge of a brand’s company culture and core values can provide an effective approach to attracting more customers.

“Companies that consciously identify their organization’s core values,” explains loyalty expert BJ Bueno, “have an easier time projecting those values into their marketing strategies as well as the overall retail experience. This strategic focus helps clarify branding initiatives and to attract more loyal customers who are in alignment with what the organization stands for.”

Attendees will learn how to bring a thriving positive energy to their brand experience from one of today’s most optimistic brands, Life is good. Bert Jacobs will share his experiences and insights on building a multinational retail brand from the ground up with a simple affirming message.

Major Retailers Use the Power of the Unconscious to Gain Market Share

Orlando, Florida (PRWEB) April 08, 2013

Succeeding in one of the toughest retail environments ever seen has presented today’s business leaders with a unique challenge. It is essential to predict customer desires in advance while delivering a highly customized level of service, consistently and in real time.

The Cult Branding Consulting Suite is a new host of services offered by BJ Bueno and his consulting team at The Cult Branding Company designed to provide retailers with the strategic insights necessary for healthy business growth. Bueno, author of “The Power of Cult Branding” (Crown Business) and “Customers First” (McGraw-Hill), and his team’s unique methods delve into the tangled, nuanced web of human behavior to discover what factors and forces consumers are most responsive to.

It‘s estimated that over 90% of consumer behavior is unconscious. Consumers don’t know why they make their purchasing decisions. However, they do continually give off behavioral clues that smart retailers can use to create a competitive advantage.

For over ten years, The Cult Branding Company has been serving leading retailers such as Kohl’s Department Stores and The Life is good Company with in-depth analysis, consumer insights, and strategic consulting with measurable results. The launch of the Cult Branding Consulting Suite helps retailers capitalize on its proprietary research methods for revealing the consumer psyche.

“Instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach to marketing as many business consultants often do, we take a different angle,” explains Cult Branding’s Director of Research Aaron Shields. “We look at the patterns in consumer data to uncover the unique drivers of differentiation for a company’s brand — in the context of its specific breed of customers. Then we develop customized strategic initiatives that will lead to significant top-line revenue growth.”

The Cult Branding Consulting Suite eliminates the mysteries of retail. Their unique, proprietary process provides retailers with identifiable action steps retailers can use to build sustainable brands.

This proven customer-forward approach takes into account every aspect of retail operations, from merchandising and store design to crafting irresistible marketing and messaging. By identifying and articulating the precise path to attracting highly profitable customers, the Cult Branding Consulting Suite provides a guide to sustainable revenue growth for today’s leading brands.

THE CULT BRANDING COMPANY is a strategic consulting firm that delivers consumer insights and actionable strategies that contribute to measurable increases in market share and top-line revenue growth. They are board members of National Retail Federation and the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. Clients include Kohl’s Department Stores, Turner Classic Movies, LA Lakers, and The Life is good Company.

View the original release here.