The Sixties Are Back, Man

When I was in high school, there was a lot of interest in the 60’s, partially due to the reissuing of classic albums on CD. And Nike used “Revolution” in an ad, while Neil Young said he’d never sing for a brand.
Now, once again, the Sixties are back in vogue in advertising.
From The New York Times:

The growing prominence of the ’60s is partly a result of the election of Barack Obama, whose paeans to hope and youthful followers bring to mind the idealism associated with the ’60s.
The decade “evokes a time when young people were seeking to change society,” said Tim Ellis, vice president for marketing at Volkswagen of America in Herndon, Va., and “trying to break free from a stale, tired way of life.”
“I see a lot of similarities with what’s going on with today’s youth,” he added.
Volkswagen of America, a division of Volkswagen, is featuring vintage VWs — a 1963 Microbus and a 1964 Beetle — in a campaign that uses the brand’s heritage to promote its current models.

Is he right? Do today’s kids and teens really care about the Sixties? I’m asking ’cause I generally don’t know. And it’s 40 years later, which is several lifetimes in pop culture. In advertising, it seems, use of that imagery is a creative crutch we tend to revisit every few years or so.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. I can’t say for sure what kids are interested in–other than gaming and texting–but I can say the cultural revolution that began in the 1960s is not confined to a time and place. There were more hippies in the 70s, for instance, than there were in the 60s. By 1975, the movement, as it were, showed up in the far reaches of the country. From what I can tell, the culture of the 60s gets bigger every year. Look at the music festival scene today–we have a Woodstock every weekend of the summer.