The Athena Conversation Project
The Zeitgeist

The VW Emissions Scandal: Lessons for Marketers

Sarah Jane Johnson

From its earliest days, Volkswagen used narrative innovation as much as product innovation to enter the global car market. In recent years, as competition and the emphasis on quality have increased, VW’s success continued to be built as much on its narrative as on its quality. When the news broke that there was a flaw in the product and a lie in the narrative, the outlook for the business plummeted overnight. The scandal continues to unfold, as a lawsuit against VW was launched by the US Environmental Protection Agency only yesterday.  But already, implications for marketers are plentiful.