Helmut Krone

think small

Helmut Krone (1925 – 1996) was a pioneer of modern advertising. He spent over 30 years at the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach where he was the art director for the popular 1960s campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, which featured a large unadorned photo of the car with the tiny word ‘Lemon’ underneath it. He was also responsible for the series of ‘When you’re only No. 2, you try harder’ advertisements for Avis, and the creation of Juan Valdez, who personified Colombian coffee. His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. Krone’s ‘Think Small’ advertisement for Volkswagen was voted the best campaign of all time in Advertising Age’s 1999 ‘The Century of Advertising issue.’

Krone was born in Yorkville, on the upper east side of Manhattan, which was at that time a German neighborhood. He attended Public School 77 in Queens before enrolling at the School of Industrial Art, where he hoped to become a product designer. When he was 21, he took his first step towards advertising, working with designer Robert Greenwell doing freelance advertisements for magazines. He followed naval service in World War II with postwar classes with Alexey Brodovitch and stints at ‘Esquire’ and ‘Sudler & Hennessey.’ Then, at the age of 29, he began to work for Doyle Dane Bernbach.

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