Some advertisements stand the test of time, and a classic television spot for Volkswagen is currently making the online rounds. It opens with a shot of two neighbors emerging from a pair of identical houses. "Mr. Jones and Mr. Krempler each had $3,000," intones the narrator as each man walks off-screen in a different direction.

"With his money, Mr. Jones bought himself a $3,000 car," continues the voiceover, as one of the men drives a nondescript midsize coupe into his driveway. The first thing to appear in the other driveway, however, is a stream of deliverymen with household appliances. "With his money," notes the narrator, "Mr. Krempler bought himself a new refrigerator, a new range, a new washer, a new dryer, a record player, two new television sets and … a brand new Volkswagen." Mr. Jones watches the parade of consumer goods in wide-eyed amazement, and waves slowly as his neighbor hops out of the bright-red Beetle and heads into the house.

"Now Mr. Jones is faced with that age old problem," says the narrator. "Keeping up with the Kremplers."

This vintage ad turns the traditional concept of "keeping up" on its ear by slyly positioning the economical automobile as an envy-inspiring purchase, all the while touting its value. Especially in periods of financial uncertainty, this concept is true Marketing Inspiration.

More Inspiration:
Steve Woodruff: (Don't) Make a Name for Yourself
Andy Sernovitz: A Cold, Sad End to Krispy Kreme
Paul Barsch: Is the Speed of Decision Making Accelerating?

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