Storm in a water glass ?: VW video is not racism, but insensitive

So much ashes on the heads of those responsible could not even be noticed in terms of the Diesel Gate. The dust cloud will remain visible over Wolfsburg for a long time. Nevertheless, if you seriously believe (e) that the controversial VW commercial with a flicked-out colored one stems from racism, it has not only been since the online press conference on June 11.06th. not correct. But what everyone learned (should) from the case: It is not a question of which message is to be conveyed, but how it can be understood.

It was undoubtedly wrong to start the multi-episode story of the constantly teasing lovers with a spot that shows no evidence of the overall context of the story. The fact that what loves each other is teasing is really not recognizable in this first spot about a couple. When I first saw the spot, I did not begin to perceive a racist undertone let alone the word "Negro". Rather, it bothered me that flipping a person away from the skin color is simply tasteless.

The online press conference called by the VW managers was good, cleverly orchestrated, and plausible to explain. And she was right. When a colleague spoke of the topic at the planned factory in Turkey and human rights violations there, PR boss Peik von Bestenbostel rightly referred to the actual topic of the press conference. Unfortunately, the tendency of some journalists to turn a topic into a widespread scandal cannot only be seen here. So he could have asked whether marketing director Sengpiehl has points in Flensburg.

Seriously: The fact that the devil is in the details becomes clear in the approval process of this video: The spot was removed in an English version, in which of course the word Negro was not visible. However, one can also doubt that this word must have been recognizable in the German version for everyone. But that doesn't matter. In fact, the clip has been seen by many people without anyone noticing or even screaming. The storm of indignation emerged later on social media.

"No one in the team noticed that just snapping a person is inappropriate - and racist in the context presented," says marketing director Jochen Sengpiehl, who, like Sales Director Stackmann, is fully committed to his responsibility. "We didn't recognize the racist elements of this video," Sengpiehl says contritely.

I would have expected this insight and this media outcry when VW boss Diess said "EBIT frees up". The criticism was much more reserved. His apology was accepted sooner than the regret of late knowledge of those responsible for the advertising clip. Individual media are still grumbling that racist motives were probably active in the background. Nonsense. Whoever assumes intent here is wrong.

Anyone who knows the creative happenings in advertising agencies knows which adventurous thoughts are "brainstormed" just to invent the most original story that has the most attention-grabbing effect. We can only hope that the creativity of advertisers will not lead to boring advertising, because such an event can make the scissors in your head even sharper.

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