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    Thread: VW Removes and Apologizes for an Admittedly Racist Ad on Instagram

    1. Member
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      05-21-2020 03:06 PM #1
      https://www.autoblog.com/2020/05/20/vw-racist-ad/


      The advert on Instagram features large pale-skinned hands seeming to push and then flick a black man away from a shiny new yellow Golf parked on a street.

      German television noted that the hand could be interpreted as making a "white power" gesture, while letters that appear on the screen afterwards briefly spell out a racist slur in German.

      Juergen Stackmann, the VW brand's board member for sales and marketing, and Elke Heitmueller, head of diversity management, took to Twitter and LinkedIn to apologize.

      "We understand the public outrage at this. Because we're horrified, too. This video is an insult to all achievements of the civil rights movement. It is an insult to every decent person," they wrote.

      "We at Volkswagen are aware of the historical origins and the guilt of our company during the Nazi regime. That is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander/propaganda and discrimination."

      Using the forum search function, before posting this, didn't reveal any previous threads...
      I hope this thread goes well, but I suppose it will not.

      Since VW has already admitted the ad was racist, there's no point in arguing over whether it is or not.
      More concerning to me is how this company keeps making these huge PR mistakes?

      I'd also like to add that as a man of African descent, this ad makes me feel unwanted AF as a VW customer.

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      05-21-2020 03:24 PM #2
      Watch it and decide for yourself...
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      05-21-2020 03:30 PM #3
      ERNEG is racist? Who knew.

      Probably a smart move by VW. They know that a lot of people will wring their hands and cluck their tongues, so no point in fighting against it. Just say oops, yep, missed that sorry.
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    5. Member RENOG's Avatar
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      05-21-2020 03:39 PM #4
      That fact this got the green light to be aired is more telling. Not surprising one bit.

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      05-21-2020 03:55 PM #5
      People see what they want to see.

      4 Chan sure got people good with the OK sign.

      Last edited by JOHNS92JETTA; 05-21-2020 at 03:58 PM.
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    7. Member GLI Dan's Avatar
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      05-21-2020 04:02 PM #6
      I don't know German, so I'm mostly just shrugging my shoulders over here.

      As for the "white power" symbol, I'm sorry but just because someone adopts something doesn't mean it has one meaning. It means ok, or if below the waste that I'm gonna hit you for looking. People need to stop looking for racism, there is already enough out in the open, no need to search for it like we're in a high school AP lit class searching for the deeper meaning of the color chosen to describe something.
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      05-21-2020 04:02 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Double-V View Post
      ERNEG is racist? Who knew.

      Probably a smart move by VW. They know that a lot of people will wring their hands and cluck their tongues, so no point in fighting against it. Just say oops, yep, missed that sorry.
      I had to look it up, I'm guessing it's this
      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Neger
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      05-21-2020 04:03 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Double-V View Post
      ERNEG is racist? Who knew.

      Probably a smart move by VW. They know that a lot of people will wring their hands and cluck their tongues, so no point in fighting against it. Just say oops, yep, missed that sorry.
      Are you being facetious?

      Quote Originally Posted by JOHNS92JETTA View Post
      People see what they want to see.

      4 Chan sure got people good with the OK sign.
      [/IMG]
      I mean, you could argue the order the letters fade in at are a coincidence, but I can understand why the video would be uncomfortable if viewed from the lens of a person of colour or someone from the United States. This should've never made it through to production for any multinational, even if it was a regional affiliate. We have processes such that any media spot on any publicly available channel is centrally reviewed precisely for this reason.

      Edit: Also, given the resurgence of neo-fascism in North America and Europe, it is absolutely reasonable to question if there are ulterior motives at play.
      Last edited by unhappymeal; 05-21-2020 at 04:09 PM.

    10. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      05-21-2020 04:03 PM #9
      Regardless of the race relations implications, what is the ad about anyway? Who is that guy, and why are the hands flicking him? I don't think I'd get this ad even if it were in script form.

      Also, anything with a slide whistle in it should be banned anyway.

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      05-21-2020 04:09 PM #10
      Golf looks pretty good in yellow.

      The ad is ... strange.

    12. 05-21-2020 04:09 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by RENOG View Post
      That fact this got the green light to be aired is more telling. Not surprising one bit.
      Truth^

      Deisel gate was bad enough, then they use monkeys for exhaust tests and the optics of gas chambers was apparently lost on those who passed that.

      Last year the VW CEO used the phrase "work sets you free". Tone def to say the least.

      Now they have a white hand pushing a black man away from the horribly ugly new Golf flash the "OK" sign (wink, wink) and have words fade from view but not before using the "N" word.

      Just super wow, people.

      And VW's first response was this, "Volkswagen reps at first tried to defend the ad online, saying the clip was misinterpreted."

      The "N" word was misinterpreted? Or shoving a black guy away from a Golf (lol) wasn't on the nose enough so let's add the "N" word? Yeah, OK.

      VW has racist fekkers in charge who blatantly rubber stamp offensive crap with no feks given or they live in a bubble surrounded by like minded souls that don't have a clue how their ideology will play to the rest of the world. Yeah, poor guys/gals, they're just misunderstood.
      Last edited by Burnette; 05-21-2020 at 04:13 PM.

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      05-21-2020 04:13 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Burnette View Post
      Truth^

      Deisel gate was bad enough, then they use monkeys for exhaust tests and the optics of gas chambers was apparently lost on those who passed that.

      Last year the VW CEO used the phrase "work sets you free". Tine def dimbass there.

      Now they have a white hand pushing a black man away from the horribly ugly new Golf flash the "OK" sign (wink, wink) and have words fade from view but not before using the "N" word.

      Just super wow, people.

      And VW's first response was this, "Volkswagen reps at first tried to defend the ad online, saying the clip was misinterpreted."

      The "N" word was misinterpreted? Or shoving a black guy away from a Golf (lol) wasn't on the nose enough so let's add the "N" word? Yeah, OK.

      VW has racist fekkers in charge who blatantly rubber stamp offensive crap with no feks given or they live in a bubble surrounded by like minded souls that don't have a clue how their ideology will play to the rest of the world. Yeah, poor guys/gals, they're just misunderstood.
      I'm not sure if that was the "OK" sign, so much as how one prepares to flick something, but I am damning them with faint praise here.

    14. Member Egz's Avatar
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      05-21-2020 04:14 PM #13
      The cafe behind him translates to "little settler" or "little colonist".

      Just a mind boggling bad commercial. Not sure if that was their intent to offend people, but they did.

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      05-21-2020 04:15 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      Regardless of the race relations implications, what is the ad about anyway? Who is that guy, and why are the hands flicking him? I don't think I'd get this ad even if it were in script form.

      Also, anything with a slide whistle in it should be banned anyway.
      There's also subtext in where he is being flicked into.
      On one site I read the symbolism of "Petit Colon" or "small colony" is significant because it speaks to "go back to where you came from" sentiments.
      "Go back to the former colonies (in Africa)", so to speak.

    16. 05-21-2020 04:15 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by unhappymeal View Post
      I'm not sure if that was the "OK" sign, so much as how one prepares to flick something, but I am damning them with faint praise here.
      So using a black guy and having the "N" on screen kinda helps you make the leap doesn't it?

    17. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      05-21-2020 04:17 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by GLI Dan View Post
      I don't know German, so I'm mostly just shrugging my shoulders over here.

      As for the "white power" symbol, I'm sorry but just because someone adopts something doesn't mean it has one meaning. It means ok, or if below the waste that I'm gonna hit you for looking. People need to stop looking for racism, there is already enough out in the open, no need to search for it like we're in a high school AP lit class searching for the deeper meaning of the color chosen to describe something.
      Excerpt for when avowed racists use it in a very racist manner it's certainly correct to object to it, right? I mean, the swastika used to be a symbol of well being before it was adopted by the Nazis but you wouldn't hang a flag of it outside your house and expect that people would assume you are just wishing them well.

      Times change, so do meanings of symbols. Denying those changes don't make them go away.

      I get that this symbol has long had other, not-nefarious meanings, it's a dang Apple emoji for goodness sake. "ok" 👌 But this has gone beyond a 4chan joke and is widely used by actual White Nationalists now.

      The ADL does a really good job of explaining the origins, the various meanings, and why you shouldn't jump to conclusions about it's use. I would hope we can all agree that it's a reasonable take.

      https://www.adl.org/education/refere...y-hand-gesture

      Personally, I've stopped using it, because I'd rather not risk being misinterpreted. It's not like it's hard, or that my life is made worse for not using it.

      Now, as for the ad, it's not very good and shows a startling lack of understanding by the Ad and PR agencies responsible for it.

      More:
      How did the OK sign become a symbol of white supremacy?
      Gesture been used as positive symbol for centuries before being hijacked by alt-right
      Vanessa Swales
      Tuesday 17 December 2019
      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-a9249846.html

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      05-21-2020 04:17 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Egz View Post
      The cafe behind him translates to "little settler" or "little colonist".

      Just a mind boggling bad commercial. Not sure if that was their intent to offend people, but they did.
      Holy ****. I didn't even notice that in the original video. I think there are way, way too many coincidences here for this to be unintentional.
      Last edited by unhappymeal; 05-21-2020 at 04:22 PM.

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      05-21-2020 04:25 PM #18
      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.
      Wow, there's just too much there to be accidental.
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      05-21-2020 04:26 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by unhappymeal View Post
      Holy ****. I didn't even notice that in the original video. I think there are way, way too many coincidences here for this to be inoffensive.
      I've been involved with promotional videos and product photography, for my line of work, and I assure you very little happens without scrutiny.
      Since so much of it is computer generated these days, there's actually a lot of thought that goes into seemingly background details.
      "Petit Colon" is definitely not a mistake. Heck, that storefront is probably CGI. Someone stared at this campaign for weeks, if not months, and agonized over every detail.

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      05-21-2020 04:27 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by whitejeep1989 View Post
      Since VW has already admitted the ad was racist, there's no point in arguing over whether it is or not.
      *snort* yeah ok.


      Could someone who is more woke than I explain to my blinded-by-privilege self what part of it is racist? I sincerely don’t know.

      Is it
      -the white hand flicking a black guy?
      -the dubious “offense” of the OK sign (that isn’t even actually present, just a wind up for a flick)?
      -something to do with the German that I can’t read?
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      05-21-2020 04:28 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by whitejeep1989 View Post
      I've been involved with promotional videos and product photography, for my line of work, and I assure you very little happens without scrutiny.
      Since so much of it is computer generated these days, there's actually a lot of thought that goes into seemingly background details.
      "Petit Colon" is definitely not a mistake. Heck, that storefront is probably CGI. Someone stared at this campaign for weeks, if not months, and agonized over every detail.
      Yep, that's why I mentioned earlier our company has an entire process where all of this gets scrutinized both locally and at the global level to ensure it could not be perceived as offensive (or there's clear documentation around the rationale and thought process). It blows my mind that this got through whatever processes VW has.

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      05-21-2020 04:29 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by The_Real_Stack View Post
      *snort* yeah ok.


      Could someone who is more woke than I explain to my blinded-by-privilege self what part of it is racist? I sincerely don’t know.

      Is it
      -the white hand flicking a black guy?
      -the dubious “offense” of the OK sign (that isn’t even actually present, just a wind up for a flick)?
      -something to do with the German that I can’t read?
      I's all been pointed out in previous posts.
      Scroll up.

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      05-21-2020 04:31 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by The_Real_Stack View Post
      *snort* yeah ok.


      Could someone who is more woke than I explain to my blinded-by-privilege self what part of it is racist? I sincerely don’t know.

      Is it
      -the white hand flicking a black guy?
      -the dubious “offense” of the OK sign (that isn’t even actually present, just a wind up for a flick)?
      -something to do with the German that I can’t read?
      Hahahaha, you know, I was reading this thread and thinking "TRS is probably going to jump in with his American Libertarianism isn't he?". Right on queue. Synopsis since you don't want to read the thread:

      -White hands flicking around a black person (being an American, you should probably understand this, then again given your other posts...)
      -Words fading in to spell America's favourite racial slur against black people in German
      -Filmed outside a cafe called "The Little Colonist"

      If you cannot appreciate as to why that could be offensive, I don't know what to do.
      Last edited by unhappymeal; 05-21-2020 at 07:58 PM.

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      05-21-2020 04:34 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by unhappymeal View Post
      Hahahaha, you know, I was reading this thread and thinking "TRS is probably going to jump in with his American Libertarianism isn't he?". Right on queue. Synopsis since you don't want to read the thread:

      -White hands flicking around a black person (being an American, you should probably understand this, then again given your other posts...)
      -Words fading in to spell ****** in German
      -Filmed outside a cafe called "The Little Colonist"

      If you cannot appreciate as to why that could be offensive, I don't know what to do.
      Also if VW themselves say it's "offensive", why bother to argue the opposite?
      If I were to say that I'm a racist, should someone try to convince me otherwise?

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      05-21-2020 04:38 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by whitejeep1989 View Post
      Also if VW themselves say it's "offensive", why bother to argue the opposite?
      If I were to say that I'm a racist, should someone try to convince me otherwise?
      I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but when you add it all together, the problems Germany and other EU countries are having with neo-nazis and then VW saying "Yup, that was offensive", it's pretty clear at this point.

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