So Sorry

from New York Times: The creators of a fake advertisement for the Volkswagen Polo car that circulated on the Internet have apologized and promised not to repeat it, Volkswagen said on Monday.
The so-called viral ad, which was not authorized by Volkswagen or its advertising agencies, shows a suicide bomber detonating his explosives in a Polo parked outside a busy cafe, only to have the car absorb the blast.
The 20-second advertisement ends with the Volkswagen logo and the Polo’s actual advertising motto: Small but Tough.
Volkswagen said in a statement that it had received sworn statements from the two creators, Dan Brooks and Lee Ford, acknowledging that they made the ad but had not intended for it to be distributed.
“The creators regret the distribution of the film, will not publicize it further and apologize unreservedly for the damage caused to Volkswagen,” it said, adding that the company would now drop legal action against them.
Volkswagen had lodged a criminal complaint last week over the ad, which it called “an attack on Volkswagen’s good name.”
Now that this episode is behind us, let’s take a moment to examine who did what, and why. Lee and Dan made a spec spot for their reel. That’s all it was. Yet, almost all the commentary I saw on blogs (more numerous than I care to mention), went on and on about how VW didn’t get it. That VW ought to wake up to the Cluetrain Manifesto now, before it’s too late. Blah blah blah.
Lee and Dan are innocent–bloggers did get that part correct. The blogospere, on the other hand, is guilty (of recklessness). No big surprise there. This spot was never meant to be aired in public. It was only to be viewed in the private offices of ad agency creative directors intent on hiring a new team. It was not intended for VW’s eyes, nor was it an example of VW customers making better advertising for their car company.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.