Thursday, October 12, 2006

Overcoming Bad Publicity

Here's a history lesson and a marketing lesson, maybe even a Marketing History lesson.

How did the company that grew huge as a result of its founding and funding by the Nazi Party and its reliance on slave labor ever get over that? (You're not finding this information out on the VW corporate site, that's for sure. They dont even have a "history of VW" section at

The lesson of course is: Time (+ aggressive advertising) heals all wounds. So, if your company happens to find itself in a potentially embarrassing or compromising situation, like your signature product being partially designed by one of history's worst personalities, take a lesson from VW: With enough time and the right advertising, people will forget your haunted past and everything will magically get better.

(Sorry to reopen this old wound for you, VW - I was just wondering how you did it. I'll shut up if you send me a new car. I'll take a Passat with a manual transmission, if you still make manual transmissions. Leave out the guitar, unless you can partner with a better guitar builder. And did you guys ever pay that old guy who designed your logo?)

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  • This post screams for a reply that says 'Mitsubishi: From the fine folks that attacked Pearl Harbor' Remember the A6M2 Zero? I know someone with a glass eye from that fateful day of infamy, courtesy of the great automobile/flat screen TV maker. I thing something about forgiveness goes here: insert your own comment
    Jim Cox

    By Blogger warbird2010, at October 12, 2006 at 2:00 PM  

  • Good point about forgiveness, Jim. But that takes time. Maybe our grandkids will someday drive OsamaWagons.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 12, 2006 at 2:17 PM  

  • also, BMW made concentration camp gas chambers in WWII.

    By Blogger copyranter, at October 12, 2006 at 4:44 PM  

  • Even more troubling: How long before we purge the memory of Carrot Top?

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at October 12, 2006 at 8:13 PM  

  • Carrot Top will remain a part of the National Consciousness for another 17 years (according to government estimates.)

    If he keeps undergoing discount plastic surgery, extend that estimate by 8 years.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 12, 2006 at 10:03 PM  

  • Yeah, and don't forget the great VW ads of the 60's from DDB were done by an agency that was 80% jewish. But hey, when it comes to advertising, I can be a bigger "Ho" than the next "Ho." Just show me the fucking money!!!

    By Blogger George Parker, at October 13, 2006 at 8:55 PM  

  • It seems to me that it would have had to be more than time + good advertising that helped VW pull through. Advertising is just saying what you want to say about yourself. What about public relations? You often can't put a price tag on what other credible sources are saying about you. PR has what advertising lacks- credibility.

    By Blogger Lorrie, at April 10, 2008 at 3:42 PM  

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