Yesterday, auto giant Volkswagen launched its self-proclaimed “new direction” in the American market with a press release titled “From ‘Think Small’ to “Drive Bigger,’ Volkswagen embraces a new purpose.” This announcement follows a bold advertisement campaign that included a commercial aired during the much watched NBA Finals.
The commercial opens with audio clips of negative news coverage about the automaker paired with very dark visuals. A defeated looking character gets back to the drawing board, literally, with Simon & Garfunkle’s “The Sound of Silence” playing to the mood. As the music picks up, so too do the visuals of the commercial, showing short bursts of modern automotive production. These shots include robotic manufacturing processes, and striking headlights before making way to VW’s new concept ID.Buzz. The commercial ends after admitting that “In the darkness, we found the light.” and the tagline “Introducing a new era of electric driving.”
Both the announcement and ad campaign take the approach of admitting the company’s mistakes in no uncertain terms. Scott Keogh, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America said “Our goal is to become a benchmark of environmental responsibility in our industry, an automaker that inspires people; not just through our vehicles, but by how we go about our business. It’s time to make VW stand for something again.” The company, one of the world’s largest automakers, is pledging a goal of carbon neutrality across their fleet, production, and administration by 2050.
Their full press release outlines the upcoming “Drive Bigger” ad campaign, as well as the company’s fundamental commitment to “do better” and “be greater.” It also includes acknowledgement of those who have stuck with the company through the scandal, possibly taking a cue from Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, who in May of last year, received a tremendous amount of engagement on Twitter after taking to the social media platform to show love to Tesla’s supporters.
Earlier this year, VW announced plans to produce electric vehicles in America, starting in 2022. The estimated $800 million investment includes the creation of a possible 1,000 jobs at their existing Chattanooga, Tennessee facility and elsewhere. That announcement also included projections for the sale of 150,000 EVs worldwide by 2020 and 1 million by 2025.