Volkswagen – Sad Bus True

This is one of the most popular ads of all-time, yet I hadn’t even seen it until a few months ago.

Volkswagen – Sad Bus

Publication: Rolling Stone Magazine

The Volkswagen bus had become an icon of the 60’s and was often linked to Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia. When Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995, Volkswagen wanted to do something to honour the great musician and his influence on a generation.

As you can see below, the designer of this ad drew a very simply sketch of the classic VW bus, with a tear coming down from one of the headlights. The only words to appear on the ad were “Jerry Garcia 1942 – 1995”. The ad appeared in a special edition of Rolling Stone, and has since become a cult-like icon, also available as a sticker or t-shirt.

For me, this ad is nothing but pure class and Volkswagen established themselves as a credible brand amongst Deadheads. It’s overly simple nature perfectly sums up the essence of a brand, a legend, and an entire generation. It could not have been said any better.

But what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Any 60’s VW bus stories you’d like to share? Please feel free to post your thoughts and comments below.

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3 Responses to Volkswagen – Sad Bus True

  1. Mattd says:

    nice title.

  2. I had heard of the Dead at that time, but was not a fan. Just hadn’t listened to them, since most of their fan base and music wasn’t exactly mainstream. I bought the Rolling Stone issue with Jerry Garcia on the cover and started reading. When I saw that ad, I thought that that was one of the most touching things a company could ever do. Very simple and direct. I was very impressed with VW for that. Years later, I wound up playing in a Grateful Dead Tribute band and became a fan. I wound up giving that particular magazine to my bandmate, since he was obviously a much bigger fan.

  3. Holy says:

    Nice description… One of the greatest ads i’ve ever seen!

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