VW launches new ad campaign in hopes of restoring trust

The commercials seek to emphasize human connection over technology.

Volkswagen has unveiled a new global ad campaign aimed at winning back the public's trust in the wake of its diesel engine scandal in which the company willfully cheated emissions tests with 11 million cars.

The new print and television commercials drop the long-used "Das Auto" slogan and seeks to tug at heartstrings rather than emphasizing technology. A new print ad, for example, shows a child hugging a parent while standing on a Jetta wagon. "It's more than just a car. It's keeping your promise," says the copy.

A television spot shows a child transitioning through various VW products throughout his life, from boyhood to fatherhood, starting with a original Beetle. The new tagline appears at the end: "Then. Now. Always."

"An amazing number of people all over the world associate our vehicles with memories, because a Volkswagen is a part of their lives, explained Volkswagen sales and marketing head Jurgenn Stackmann in an official statement, "In other words, Volkswagen was, and is, ‘the people's car.'"

Stackmann continued, "We have lost credibility and trust in recent months. We are now doing everything we can to win that back." According to the company, these ads are " just the first visible step."

The ads have been timed to roll out in the UK, Spain and Portugal in early February, the same time the recall of about 8.5 million European VWs begins. Then come Germany, Austria and Switzerland later this month. Other European markets and the rest of the world will receive this message in March.

Audi, which is owned by VW and also has some cars recalled by the scandal, has conspicuously dropped its slogan, Truth in Engineering, from its recent Super Bowl commercial.

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