In light of last week's Paris attacks (which claimed the lives of three in the industry) and the death of Pat Fallon, I'm not sure what else would constitute actual news for this column today. Not that, clearly, this Mediapsssst column is or will ever be your go-to source for hard-hitting journalism, but from time to time I try to bring you actual, useful news along with the pithy fun stuff.
So pardon me if anything I write today feels forced and completely out of place. This Sunday, VW launched a new campaign created by Deutsch LA that will run in 30 newspapers including USA Today, The New York Times,Chicago Tribune and Washington Post.
The ad, which carries the headline "We're Working to Make Things Right," makes note of the brand's $500 prepaid VW Visa card, $500 VW Dealer Card and no-charge 24-hour Roadside Assistance for three years it has offered to the 11 million affected by the brand's diesel emissions shenanigans. The ad also asks for the public's continued patience as VW works to further remedy the situation.
The ad comes in the form of a letter written by VW CEO Michael Horn, who writes: "We sincerely hope you see this as a first step towards restoring your invaluable trust."
While the brand has experienced a 5.3% drop in reported deliveries in October compared to a year ago, this move is a step in the right direction. Full disclosure: I am a loyal VW customer having owned two GTIs, a Passat and my current CC. None are diesel vehicles.
The brand may never see a return to its pre-diesel drama glory, but people do tend for forgive and forget and to move onward. And these being cars, it's not like every VW owner who has been angered over what the brand did can just simply and immediately move on to a new, non-VW vehicle. That, along with the notion of forgive and forget, may be the brand's only saving grace.
None of this, of course, matters in the face of the terror which hit Paris last week, or the death of a beloved ad man.