The ad showed large, pale-skinned hands in the foreground appearing to flick a black man away from a parked Golf car before he lands in a cafe named ‘Petite Colon.’ This ad was reportedly intended to be part of a series of adverts which were going to show a love story between a caucasian woman and dark-skinned man.
What does ‘Petite Colon’ mean and why is the advertisement problematic?
What does Petit Colon mean?
The Petit Colon is a real cafe in Buenos Aires located closeby the Teatro Colon, a theatre which is named in honour of Christopher Columbus. Its name has clear colonial undertones, translating to ‘Little Settler’ or ‘Little Colonist’ in both English and French.
People online also noted that when the German slogan ‘Der Neue Golf’ (‘The New Golf’ in English) first appear, the letters which are seen first seen to spell the German racial slur ‘neger’.
The spokespeople for the German car manufacturing company admitted that the ad was ‘an insult’, with Elke Heitmueller, head of diversity management, and Juergen Stackmann, the VW brand’s board member for sales and marketing, releasing a joint statement saying: ‘We understand the public outrage at this. Because we’re horrified, too.