I’m thumbing through the brochure for a ’69 VW Beetle, minding my own business, and Paul Newman’s handsome young mug grabs my attention among all of the nondescript imagery of farmers, families and fantastic 1960s decor. The young actor endorsed the car, calling out his long time relationship with the brand. Despite the 20 Hollywood films young Newman had made by that time, his spread was relegated to the back of the brochure for some strange reason. Word on the street is that Newman took this red convertible and subsequently stuffed a mid-mounted Ford V8 inside.
The rest of the brochure was filled with other endorsements and testimonials from all kinds of people. I bet you didn’t know this, but apparently the Bug is adept at such tasks as running Antarctic expeditions and performing all manor of truck duty in the heartland. However silly these claims appear now, it’s interesting to note how far consumer endorsements have come. Toyota’s latest campaign for instance, dubbed “Ideas for Good”, is representative of this consumer migration away from transparent one-liners of support into active participation and input from the user.