Volkswagen AG is under fire after producing and releasing a video of a black man being controlled by a giant white hand before getting flicked away from a Volkswagen (VW) Golf by the same hand.
The clip that was produced by Omnicom Group Inc.’s Berlin-based subsidiary Voltage sparked widespread criticism and tensions within the company as the German automaker’s powerful labor representatives called it a “low point” and demanded an overhaul of social-media marketing.
“Despite our diverse and international teams, a racist video was produced,” Head of Marketing at the namesake VW brand, Juergen Stackmann said in a briefing with journalists to present the results of the company’s investigation into the affair. “It seems very clear that, apart from mistakes in the process chain, there were also shortcomings in creating sensitivity among employees.”
According to Bloomberg, VW’s initial response of downplaying the video as a misunderstanding sparked even more anger from the public. VW then apologised after removing the ad along with other marketing elements as the company reviews its campaigns.