I dunno. Saying Volkswagen lost its way because they changed ad agencies is a little trite. The fact of the matter is, in 1968 there was no.f'ing.WAY VW was going to market to the mainstream American car buyer... and it's disingenuous to say that their advertising was really all that unique.
I feel like, looking back, people at the time knew VWs for what they were. Cheap, economical cars. They weren't in the middle of the horsepower wars nor were they super luxurious with the latest and the greatest features. Being as simple as they were, people probably felt like they were not only cheaper, but less reliable than other brands, which is probably why VW was advertising the way they were.
Fans of '60s advertising will note that everything was advertised this way: Picture of product against white background with half a page full of serif copy. Volkswagen was advertising that they had good fuel economy and were cheap in the exact same way everyone else was advertising that they had a gajillion horsepower and made panties moist.
I actually collect vintage car ads for fun. They're one of the few antiques I still find reasonably priced and they're easy to store. You're absolutely right about the walls of text. Here's a link to a bunch of 60's car ads that further help illustrate what you're talking about. If you look at the VW ads in the link, instead of talking about horsepower or the latest in technology, they're touting the quality and reliability of their products. Here's a link to a VW ad I picked up the other month, once again talking about their eye for quality.
I have to agree with you on "Hey, that's how everyone advertised back then." It was the style of the time. Though, you do have to admit, the author does make somewhat of a good point. VW's shift in advertising over the years has kind of mirrored their shift in design priorities which has shifted right along side with their corporate culture. Though, you can't fault them for it. It's not like you can sell a sub 50hp, air cooled, rear engine car forever. You gotta change with the times.