Earlier this week, Volkswagen created a sensation by inadvertently issuing a funny press release. In the latter, we learned that its American branch would change its name to become “Voltswagen”, in tribute to its electric turn. Everyone was wondering then if this was an April Fool’s Day released too early, which might have been funny, or a real change in strategy.
Read also : Is Volkswagen really going to be called Voltswagen in the United States?
Then yesterday, Volkswagen came out of its silence to confirm the news. To several serious media, includingAFP and The Verge, the German group said it was really planning to change its name and that it was not an April Fool’s Day. Problem, a few hours later, Volkswagen backtracked by claiming that it had tricked the media and that it was indeed a joke. In the middle, this is called a bad buzz.
A very bad joke
In recent years, the jokes of the 1er April are disputed by some media. In this age of mass social media disinformation, the little jokes that some may take seriously are frowned upon. The craziest April Fools continue to make people laugh (because we manage to dissociate them from reality), those that are too plausible are more embarrassing.
By pulling out its joke on March 29 and telling the media that this is something real, Volkswagen has arguably gone too far. AFP had to send a dispatch to deny it and, in the United States, the media no longer speak of April Fool’s Day, but of “lies”. In a country where the diesel gate is still not digested, the Volkswagen joke does not pass. Many media point out that this name change was “Supposed to be an April Fool’s Day”, just to make the German understand that it was mostly disinformation.
“We didn’t want to cheat on anyone” apologizes a spokesperson for the company interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, who went up against Volkswagen “All this is just a marketing operation to get people talking about the ID.4”.
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During this Voltswagen episode, the German manufacturer has at least managed to make people talk about him. This marketing operation, repeated in all the media around the world, could nevertheless have negative repercussions on its future communications.