Advice For The New Volkswagen Chief Marketing Officer

Adweek reported a while back that Volkswagen dismissed its Chief Marketing Officer. While I’m generally loathe to offer advice to CMOs in industries I don’t usually work with, in this case, the urge is too tempting:

Give all the money earmarked for advertising to manufacturing.

Why? Steve Johnson at Pragmatic Marketing wrote:

“…and then there’s my son’s Volkswagen GTI. The windows fell off when he was driving. The windows… fell… off. The dealer said, “Yeh, that happens sometimes.” That happens sometimes?!?!? Good grief. While they fixed the VW they loaned us a Toyota; we liked it so much that we bought a Camry.”

Just one more proof point that a poor customer experience will ruin a branding effort faster than you can say Fahrvernugen.

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4 thoughts on “Advice For The New Volkswagen Chief Marketing Officer

  1. I am a super loyal Saturn owner (on my fourth one) but I have to admit that when the new Beetle came out – I strayed.

    My first car (Howard) was a 1973 VW Super Beetle. I loved Howard.
    So, I bought the new beetle in 1999. Then I moved to Dallas, Texas (from Portland) and that first summer BOTH windows fell off!! Not at the same time mind you.

    First the driver’s side (on a 102 degree day with about 110% humidity). Then a few months later the passenger side window fell off.

    I got the same line. Yeah, that happens.

    I went back to Saturn.

    VW has cute commercials but sadly their cars are crap!!

    OH, and the best part about VW’s service. As a Saturn owner I’m used to great service. Each time I take my car in (even for just an oil change) they wash my car. It’s sparkly clean when I get it back.

    After I had my Beetle serviced I got a call (from an outsourced company I’m pretty sure) that wanted to ask me a few questions about my visit. One of the questions: “Was the car as clean when I picked it up as it was when I dropped it off?”

    Huh? You mean, as opposed to it being dirtier??? YES. That’s what they were asking. Did the mechanic sully up your car?? Clearly their expectations for service are far lower than Saturn.

  2. Ah… there’s that “expectations” word again. Interestingly enough, this time from the perspective of the provider, not the customer.

    And for some reason there’s a little voice in my head saying “DON’T ASK!”, but….

    So what names have given your Saturns?

  3. Well…..

    The first one was Cordelia (from Anne of Green Gables)
    Then there was Goldie (obviously the gold car)
    Daisy was the SUV (hmmm they are all girl cars…)
    Now I have Ruby the ION

    A long time ago I had a Mercedes Benz I named Otto – maybe the German cars are all boys.

  4. Oh my GOD!

    You guys are killing me! I thought it was only Clayton’s VW that fell to pieces! He also gets the same level of service at the dealership – which is none at all.

    I drive a Toyota Tundra and my wife drive a Honda Passport. But I also have a 66 mustang and used to drive Chevy exclusively ( I was a bit into muscle cars). None of the Toyotas I have owned have ever had problems. Even the one I bought from the junk yard for $100 ran great save replacing the gear oil every 400 miles.

    I bought my truck from the same dealership as Clayton bought his Passat. The Honda, Toyota and VW dealerships are all owned by the same family and they are all next to each other. I get great service (though no free car washes). All Clayton get is excuses.

    And even though he has all these troubles – he is convinced that VW is the superior product. How is that for brand loyalty?

    Plus, their ads look snazzy šŸ™‚

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