Tag Archive: Long March


“In the darkness, we found the light. Introducing a new era of electronic driving.” – Volkswagen’s new advertising campaign tagline

“Hello, darkness, my old friend; I’ve come to talk to you again …” – Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s, “The Sounds of Silence”

Is the best defense a good offense?

Is the most effective present-day defense utilizing a Baby Boomer anthem and harkening back to the 1960s with its brightly colored Volkswagen Beetles and (Hippie) Microvans?

After being rightfully bashed and bloodied starting in the autumn of 2015 for deploying defeat software to deceive anti-pollution testing of its vehicles (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche), heads rightfully started to roll at Volkswagen AG corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

On the line with “Dieselgate” was Volkswagen’s brand, but also the reputation of Germany’s legendary designers and engineers. Consider, there is probably no nation on earth that prides itself more than Germany for its commitment to the environment (note the recent electoral successes of die Grünen).

The Volkswagen cheating scandal was akin to catching a falling knife. Using another well-worn metaphor, the shocking story has legs and has been running unabated for nearly four years.

The scandal started in September, 2015 when the U.S. EPA charged Volkswagen with using illegal (air quality testing) manipulation devices. A related Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation was launched. Volkswagen’s chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn was fired.

A continuous chorus of charges, fines, lawsuits, increased governmental regulation, falling stock prices and recalls mounted against Volkswagen and its Audi and Porsche subsidiaries. Last year, German authorities indicted Winterkorn on aggravated fraud charges.

Almost DailyBrett noted that Volkswagen did not follow to the letter the four basic tenets of Crisis Communications: Tell The Truth, Tell It All, Tell It Fast and Move On. In many ways Volkswagen management was just hoping this mess would simply subside.

Volkswagen management, employees, shareholders and even Kanzlerin Merkel and the German government had to confront the metaphorical Scheisse-Sandwich … you don’t nibble.

Back To The Drawing Board

At some point, the world’s largest automobile designer/manufacturer would have to go back on offense.

In doing so, Volkswagen realized it could not assume a business-as-usual approach.

Ultimately, Volkswagen appreciated that it has to acknowledge its wrongdoing, beg for forgiveness, and somehow, someway commence the hard work of rebranding … essentially moving on.

Volkswagen of America hired New York’s Johannes Leonardo advertising agency, and secured the rights to “The Sounds of Silence.”

The question posed to VW management: Can a major ad buy (part of a reported $2 billion campaign) for its 1:45 second spot featuring a Baby Boomer/Yuppie anthem make everything right in the world for Volkswagen?

In and of itself, the answer is obviously: no.

Almost DailyBrett has always believed that Volkswagen is engaged in a marathon, not a sprint. Volkswagen’s story, which began in 1937, deserves another chapter.

Americans are credited for being an understanding people. They will not forget, but are they willing to forgive and give … even a corporate entity … another chance?

The Johannes Leonardo creative, which debuted with the NBA Finals and the NHL’s Stanley Cup last week, is edgy as it literally starts in the darkness with a news announcer directly referencing the Volkswagen scandal.

One suspects that securing VW’s management approval for an open acknowledgement of moral failure was easier said than done. As Chairman Mao found out, the long-march back starts with the first step.

In our world of advertising bombast and overkill, it’s the extremely clever advertisement that stops the viewer in his or her tracks and commands attention.

The dark Sounds of Silence images convey going back to the drawing board. The result is the coming resurrection of the VW microvan … a concept vehicle for now … with the message the company’s environmentally friendly electric vehicle does not contribute to climate change. Volkswagen envisions 22 EVs (electric vehicles) by 2028, and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Volkswagen has stumbled for nearly four torturous years. The questions are with its new ad campaign and beyond: Has the company finally learned its lesson, and are we as consumers willing to forgive, while certainly not forgetting?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEvNL6oEr0U

https://www.fastcompany.com/90359361/volkswagen-aims-for-feel-good-redemption-in-new-major-ad-campaign

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a27784322/vw-hello-light-commercial-column/

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/dieselgate-timeline-germanys-car-emissions-fraud-scandal

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/15/business/winterkorn-volkswagen-emissions-scandal.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkiley5/2019/06/06/vw-goes-back-to-the-future-in-new-ad-campaign-to-put-dieselgate-in-rear-view/#1026a00d3aa5

https://www.vw.com/

http://johannesleonardo.com/

Remember when people were content to be unambitious, sleep until 11, hang out with their friends? You had no occupation whatsoever, maybe working a couple of hours a week at a coffee shop … Portland is a city where young people go to retire.” – Lyrics to the Portlandia theme song, “The Dream of the 90s Is Alive in Portland”portlandia90s

You don’t set an alarm. Why would you? You don’t need to. You wake up … whenever.

You reach over to your mobile device …Ahh, yes … your $2,555 + $642 for each dependent child monthly UBI (Universal Basic Income) check has been direct deposited into your communal credit union account.

Your minimal effort wage amounts to an annual salary of $30,660 for a single, $61,320 for a couple and $76,728 for a family of four.

Life is good. Life is always good. There are no more challenges.

Should you go back to sleep or do whatever?

What time is it anyway?

Since you don’t wear a watch, you really don’t know or care … You sleep comfortably knowing that you are — through your inaction — contributing to the end of welfare as we know it. The reason: The “safety net” extends to us all.UBI

Many support free education as a matter of right. But let’s pose an obvious question right now: Why do you need an education when a paycheck is heading your way regardless of what you know or don’t know?

Literally tens of thousands of Americans back extending Medicare benefits to everyone as a matter of right. Certainly Medicare-for-all will be an extension of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Right?

And how many on the left and on the right have complained vocally about our welfare system with its unemployment insurance, food stamps and disability programs?

Why not include everyone and be done with it?

Switzerland already voted on Universal Basic Income last month. It was nip-and-tuck, but UBI came up on the short-end, 77-23 percent.UBIBern

Fret not; every worthwhile movement endures character-building setbacks at the onset only to prevail. Didn’t Chairman Mao’s Long March begin with the first step? Besides, won’t we all eventually vote our self-interest for free-money from the government as a basic right?

Is There A Catch?

With any nifty proposition, there are always those naysayers who may raise some annoying questions about UBI.

What about the $20 trillion national debt and counting? Wouldn’t UBI become the ultimate entitlement program sending the stratospheric red-ink ledger out of the galaxy?

Wait a minute: Isn’t money simply a creation of capitalistic greed? And doesn’t the basic right to income trump (no pun intended) alles?

For example, the nattering nabobs of negativism will want to know how UBI will be financed. Easy, the ill-begot profits of publicly traded companies and related Wall Street transaction taxes will be redistributed to a fund for UBI payouts.

Instead of putting resources into new innovation, building a business, paying out dividends and rewarding stellar employees, the entrepreneurs/achievers at publicly traded companies and unicorns will redirect via the government the remainder (e.g., profit) between revenues and expenses to pay UBI recipients.

What would happen to corporations, companies, start-ups and small businesses, their employees and the products, we use on any given day? What would be their incentive to invest, meet challenges and overachieve?

Regardless of what you do or not do, a UBI check is going to be deposited into your checking account. So why make a fuss?UBI

Would global competitors (e.g., Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India) follow suit and provide UBI payments to their citizens? Or (gasp) would they continue to compete and work up-to-six-days-per-week to swiftly replace us as the leading economic power on the planet?

Maybe Almost DailyBrett is being a little too skeptical, and hopefully not cynical.

UBI proponents point to the end of capitalism as if that is a desirable goal. With UBI, we would all be grateful for (dependent on) the largesse of the nanny state. The much-vilified Clintonian welfare system would end. Conceivably, the leisure industry would prosper because everyone would be on permanent vacation.

And yet your blog author is primarily bothered by one overriding concern: Is it right to receive money for something I did not earn?

Let’s all compete to the best of our ability and see what happens. Hopefully, there will be more than a few shekels for us all instead of a paycheck we didn’t earn.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/03/technology/plan-to-fight-robot-invasion-at-work-give-everyone-a-paycheck.html?_r=0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBt4HlcDUDw

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/universal-basic-income/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36454060

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-06/universal-basic-income-is-ahead-of-its-time-to-say-the-least

https://www.google.com/#q=625+Swiss+francs+to+dollars

 

 

 

 

 

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