Regarding the VW Crisis, Everyone Just Needs To Calm Down And See The Bigger Picture.

1952-volkswagen-beetle-front-three-quarterWithout question, “Dieselgate” is a dramatic and traumatic event. Lots of vehicle owners are feeling pretty screwed right now. Lots of employees are feeling pretty embarrassed. Lots of investors are feeling a sense of abandonment. To say it is all unfortunate is a bit of an understatement. But to say, as Dale Buss says, “there may be no way to restore it to its former luster—ever” is just plain stupidity.

Does anyone remember Exxon Valdez from way back in 1989? Remember when Martha Stewart did that whole insider trading thing and ended up in prison? How about the financial banking crisis of 2007 involving pretty much every banking institution in the U.S.? Or how about the great BP – Deepwater Horizon – oil spill of 2010 that resulted in an $18.7 billion settlement, which most figure is about one-third the actual cost of the long-term damage?

Despite the truly terrible things they did, somehow, magically all these oil companies and banks and people survived… and they are thriving. Hell, Martha Stewart’s net worth is over $970 million these days.

So can Volkswagen survive? Um, duh.

The VW crisis is real. And it is bad. Some really stupid and selfish people did some really stupid and irresponsible things. And they should all be placed in jail five minutes after they apologize to everyone impacted by their ignorance. But Volkswagen represents a lot of people – nearly 600,000 employees worldwide, plus the millions of people who live in the communities around their facilities, plus their investors, and oh yeah, all their vehicle owners. And they have all been wronged. They are all victims.

The VW brand has built up a lot of good will and good karma over the past 80 years. And it can’t all be taken away by this one bad event. Nor should it. Heads must roll, but the brand should – and will – carry on.

So everyone can just settle down now and get some Fahrvergnügen… it’s good for the soul.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.