Volkswagen advertising


VW advertising has helped redefine the practise of  marketing and advertising over 60 years, and in the process built a brand valued in their last balance sheet at $US23 billion

How much of that 23 Billion has been trashed by the unfolding fraud?

The value of a brand is made up of thousands of individual things over a long period, all adding to a disposition or feeling in consumers minds.

In VW’s case, it really started with advertising in the early 50’s, the original “Lemon” ads that changed the way we thought about advertising, to the more recent “Star Wars” ad series.

I wonder about the impact of the recent publicity on the new car buyer.

Will they now be more likely to add another brand choice to the list of possibles as they consider and research their new car purchase?  Will current owners be more or less likely to believe the message on the dash that tells them a service is now due?,

Every business from MNC’s like VW to the bakery around the corner has to be aware of the value of their brand, and the added vulnerability it now faces with the advent of social media, and its ability to generate commentary. United airlines found this to their detriment when they broke a songwriters guitar. This particular piece of payback has been viewed over 15 million times, spawned a host of parodies, song series, covers and even books, and it is a wonderful case study on corporate response to customer service for people like me.

Marketing people are now pretty quick to extol the virtue of social media as a tool to build brands, and some (the few who read balance sheets) even recognise the goodwill you can reflect in the accounts, but are they as vigilant on the flip side?


Investment in brands should be considered as a long term investment, something that will keep on delivering if you get the basics right and nurture it. For small businesses, they have the opportunity to appear to be much larger and sophisticated than perhaps they are if they think about the basics of brand building,.

Unlike physical assets, brands appreciate with use, care and attention, but the flip side is there as well, as VW has  discovered.

I will watch their next set of accounts with interest.