VW used one of the most trusted marketing tactics we know: lying.

September 30, 2015 by Joe Amaral, VP & Creative Director

Many trusted brands market their product or service to the public knowing that it may not be great or even, it some cases, may be detrimental. And despite this, they still stay trusted brands. I once sold a pet food that veterinarians recommend you don't feed your pets. But it was cheap and it wouldn't actually kill Fido.

The fact is, Volkswagen wrote software to get around emission standards. All cars pollute. This one just pollutes more than others. And believing that other “trusted” car manufacturers aren’t doing the same thing is foolish. I roll my eyes at claims that they broke customer trust. What brand doesn't? Soft drink companies sell a product that promotes obesity.

 One time, we presented a campaign to a senior executive from one of the big banks. The creative was built around the idea that we would be the honest, helpful and friendly bank. If a customer had their money in the wrong account, we would show them which account would deliver better interest rates. He laughed out loud and said: "Do you know how much money we make from little old ladies having their money in the wrong accounts?".

 The fact of the matter is, no lives were lost. VW is simply a great brand that got caught lying. And they will pay for it. But let’s be honest and park our marketing morals for a moment. VW apologized and will compensate the affected parties.

 VW's are known for being fuel efficient and lasting. And they still are. Nothing off brand here. If anything, VW proved that they are smart. Smart enough to produce a great car. And even smarter to be able to create such a clever software in the first place.

This mishap doesn’t take away from the comfort and great mileage of their cars. VW loyalists will still be loyal. Heck, they may even get some VW converts after this.

 Yeah… I have a feeling the VW brand will be just fine.

 

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