How Volkswagen Just Keeps Playing Itself & Investors With Racist Ad

CBx Vibe:Take A Bow” by Rihanna

By Justice Allen

  • Negative headlines have a 63% higher click through rate than positive ones
  • Volkswagen’s stock is down nearly 20% YTD

German automaker Volkswagen (VOW3.DE +2.16%) is apologizing after posting a video to its Instagram page featuring a large white hand basically forcing a Black man away from their new VW Golf 8. The ad evolves with the hand pushing the man into a restaurant called “Petit Colon”, which translates to Little Colonist. In the end it’s investors and people of color who are paying the cost for this advertising bait and switch, as the company’s stock is down nearly 20% year to date.

Why This Matters: Even with VW’s apology, it’s more crucial than ever to recognize that occurrences like these are far from accidental. Let’s not forget that in 2014 Adweek noted that negative headlines have a 63% higher click through rate than positive ones. Brands know what they’re doing, and in cases like these, the feelings and experiences of people of color are used as marketing tools to drive sales.

In cases like these, the feelings and experiences of people of color are used as marketing tools to drive sales

Volkswagen is far from the first European company to be called out for a racist ad. In 2018, Chicago lyricist Chance the Rapper called out Heineken (HEIA:AS +2.33%) for its seemingly racist ad, featuring the tagline “Lighter is Better.” During that time the company saw its stock increase around 2.5% since the ad first surfaced.

Situational Awareness: A 2020 Statista report shows VW maintains a sizable automotive global market share at about 7.5%, just behind Toyota (TM +1.78%). But will we the consumers begin to hold brands accountable? Given the fact that VW spent about $5.7 billion dollars on marketing in 2018, we can only hope they choose to spend their money on creativity rather than cheap, tasteless stunts. But until then, please do join me in the #VWiscancelledparty.

CBx Vibe:Take A Bow” by Rihanna

CONTRIBUTOR

CultureBanx Team

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