Maybe its wishful thinking or maybe they’ve just recently discovered Mad Men on Netflix, but whatever the reason may be Volkswagen are putting all their faith into the power of good advertising.
Following the emissions scandal that continues to plague the German carmakers, they have unveiled their latest ad campaign that is set to be rolled out across Europe later this month, followed by a global unveiling afterwards. Their long-running “Das Auto” slogan has gone, perhaps a sign that the company are looking to leave their recent problems with a goodbye glance in the rear view mirror.
Referring to the adverts as the “first visible step in a new mindset” brand Board Member Jürgen Stackmann describes how the focus of the new campaign is to “return to strengthening the close emotional bond between brand, customer and product.” In the press release Stackmann acknowledges the scandal, albeit fleetingly and ambiguously, detailing the “loss of trust” between customer and brand. This explains why the adverts focus on the people involved and not necessarily the cars. In fact, the cars take a bit of a backseat. Speaking about why the car company has decided to shift focus on the consumer, Stackmann said “Behind every car we sell there is not just a customer, there is also a story. An amazing number of people all over the world associate our vehicles with memories, because a Volkswagen is a part of their lives.” Basically, they can’t brag about being that great right now so have decided to go for the emotional angle… or that’s what we would say if we were true cynics.
The campaign, which will be widespread featuring coverage via print, online media and TV, coincides with the start of Volkswagen’s reparations in Europe, where over 8.5 million affected vehicles will start receiving the necessary software tweaks to make them pass the emission tests. Things in the United States are still more uneasy with a reparation plan not delivered. The emissions scandal has proven to be one of the bigger stories of the last year in the automobile industry, and Stackmann acknowledges the difficulty Volkswagen face in moving forward. “We have lost credibility and trust in recent months. We are now doing everything we can to win that back,” he said in the release.
The advert has replaced the traditional “Das Auto” with “Then. Now. Always” but we are going to assume that Volkswagen are hoping they can leave the emission scandal in the ‘Then’ and move towards a more hopeful future.