Every April Fool’s we can count on a corporate marketing team to embarass themselves with an obtuse stunt. This year proved no different.
Fool me once
The crack squad in VW’s marketing team outdid themselves for April Fool’s when they posted a press release to their website on April 29th (you read that correctly) announcing their name change to “Voltswagen” to signify their shift to electric cars. Then they quickly deleted it.
Fool me twice
Unsatisfied with this presumed accident, on April 30th, VW then released a media statement affirming the rebrand and their nod towards an electric future.
Later that day, they confessed to the stunt.
Lemme guess what you’re thinking.
“But wait, didn’t VW just get their pants sued off for LYING about emissions?”
Why yes. Yes, they did
VW’s scandalous lie also resulted in the largest fine ever slapped on an auto manufacturer.
The gift of the gaffe
This ill-conceived April Fool’s campaign follows a marketing blunder from last year when VW landed in hot water for a racist ad that depicted a Black man being controlled and pushed by a white hand.
At the time, VW promised to address their marketing efforts, but didn’t switch agencies or make any executive changes.
Aaaaand look at them now!
Time for the Old Volk's home
Joking about the launch of a new car is one thing, but making light about the entire direction of your company is quite another. This boneheaded marketing campaign served only to undermine VW’s credibility and erode the consumer trust they’d earned back since the emissions scandal broke in 2015.
For what, you ask?
An April Fool’s joke that wasn’t even funny. Yeesh.
That’s one way to get attention
Lying to the public—while making jest of a serious global issue and...you know...the crime your company was found guilty of—would not be high on my list of marketing moves.
Hey VW? Call me. You seriously need the help.