This time it's the VW 'Apology' print ad that ran over the weekend. I've put 'apology' in quotes not to be snarky, but because it's not really an apology is it? And I understand that might not be the point of this ad, the ad does state it is more about action than words.
How does it compare to how Tesco infamously mishandled their crisis a while back with a poorly thought-through 'rousing' apology ad?
These things are hard to get right, but get them right and I think you can go a long way to help yourself out of a sticky situation. And I think a huge part of getting it right involves telling the absolute truth without embellishment or excuse. If you have the balls to go with the absolute truth, and admitting where you went wrong, I think that can be very powerful.
It's a bit like customer service, you don't really notice customer service until something goes wrong, but if something goes wrong with a product or service, and customer service come through in a great way, you can sometimes end up feeling more positively towards the company than before the thing went wrong in the first place.
Lastly, I can't let another of these go by without repeating my point about brands and agencies just not getting the potential of print advertising, and misusing as a medium. When their backs are up against the wall, they write succinct and simple copy-based ads, because they know people will read them and they can get a point across powerfully – but when they're not in crisis, they go to back to making bland, pretty wallpaper nonsense again.
Anyway, here it is if you haven't seen it. Click on the image to enlarge...
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