What Diesel Matter?

Now that it has put that pesky “diesel matter” behind it, Volkswagen is out to show the world what a transformed company it has become in the second phase of its new branding campaign. Phase one began last week.

It is just amazing how companies, and people for that matter, see the light and want to make the world a better place —  after they’ve been caught cheating or otherwise breaking the rules.

If Michael Cohen hadn’t been caught violating all sorts of laws, he’d still likely be Donald Trump’s No. 1 bag man, not the contrite family man he claimed at his sentencing hearing.

If Volkswagen hadn’t been caught gaming federally mandated emissions tests for years, the company’s vehicles would still be spewing toxic emissions at rates multiple times greater than the law allows, destroying the atmosphere and exacerbating respiratory maladies like childhood asthma.  



But VW wants you to forget all that and just “Drive Bigger,” a new campaign breaking during coverage of the women’s World Cup.

The company says the new campaign is “built around responsibility, innovation and how a major automaker can credibly contribute to the greater good.” Hmmm, there is just something so Orwellian about this entire effort. It’s like they want that “diesel matter” to go down a memory hole (never happened!).

“Drive Bigger goes well beyond a traditional ad campaign,” stated Jim Zabel, senior vice president of marketing, Volkswagen of America. “It’s a public declaration of a long-term vision for Volkswagen that calls to a higher purpose, and challenges us all, Volkswagen very much included, to move beyond just self-interest and to consider something bigger.”

The company didn’t specifically say it was going to stop polluting kids’ lungs or stop blowing a bigger hole in the ozone layer, but that’s clearly the implication. And it does have some cute kids in a new spot called “Something Big.” The aim of the spot is to remind us all of the “bigger picture,” according to the company.

A second spot, “Inspire,” features U.S. Women’s National Team star Alex Morgan, and how she uses her platform to look out for the next generation of players and give back to the community.

The company also said it is donating a portion of its ad time during the World Cup to America SCORES, a nationwide soccer and language-arts nonprofit that inspires urban youth to “lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world.” Presumably without cheating and gaming the system to generate profits at the expense of their fellow citizens.

Not sure how big that donation is, but I’m pretty sure it’s a pittance compared to the $30 billion the emissions scandal cost.  

Yep, it’s all about the bigger picture now for VW. The company intends to keep reminding us of that bigger picture throughout this new campaign. And the company has a right to do that.

But despite what some authorities say about the human attention span these days (it’s pretty short), for me at least, the “diesel matter” will never go down a memory hole.



1 comment about "What Diesel Matter?".
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  1. George Parker from Parker Consultants, June 12, 2019 at 10:02 a.m.

    Talking about attention spans... Never forget, VW's original number one fan was Hitler.
    Cheers/George "AdScam" Parker

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