'Shameful blush'

How do you communicate with your loyal brand fans after that brand has been affected by a worldwide scandal?

In the autumn on 2015, Volkswagen became the public face of an emissions scandal that became known as Dieselgate. The result was massive reputation damage. What to do?

To be able to continue to count on some degree of sympathy, and to make sure that people would at least give the brand a chance to recover lost trust, we decided to take a remorseful position. Which would only be accepted if people feel that you really mean what you say. And that is something you can’t do by being standoffish or dishing out boilerplate legalese. That’s why we made an ad that was ‘typically Volkswagen’. With a dash of self-deprecating humour and the tone of voice people would recognise.

It became the year’s most hotly discussed print ad. The pros and cons were debated on social media. Volkswagen drivers recognised their favourite brand in the ad, despite all the negative corporate publicity, and continued to believe in the products.
The work
Nov 2017

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