"VW Rethinks Its High-Testosterone Ads": Volkswagen

Essay by robdado2University, Master'sA+, April 2006

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This reading of The Wall Street Journal article, "VW Rethinks Its High-Testosterone Ads", Volkswagen responds to the request of Miami customers, Cuban-dominated Miami customers. "In English, Turbo-Balls might not sound so offensive, but in the Spanish-speaking community, it will always have a vulgar connotation." (Jordan)

Volkswagen removed billboards in New York, Los Angeles and Miami after receiving complaints that a word used in an advertisement was offensive to Hispanics.

The ad for the new GTI 2006 had a photo of the sports car accompanied by the words "Turbo-Cojones." Cojones, which means testicles in Spanish, has become a casually used term for boldness or guts in English but has never lost its more vulgar connotations in its native language. A billboard in the Miami neighborhood of Little Havana generated complaints, and the company decided to remove it. Volkswagen AG has received no complaints for its billboards in New York and Los Angeles but decided to pull them anyway.

People who are reading it in a Spanish neighborhood, it will have a different effect for them ... because they realize the real connotation. "For us Latinos, it's a bad word. It's offensive," said Hector Calderon, maintenance supervisor of a fitness center in Los Angeles. But he concedes, "A billboard like that sure attracts attention." (Jordan)

The original billboard was not intended to offend anyone. Instead, it was an attempt to convey that the GTI is a high-performance sports car. It is admirable that Volkswagen took into consideration the cultural differences and complied with request to remove the ad. The billboards will be replaced with two ads, with one saying "Here today, gone tamale" and the other "Kick a little gracias."

Marketing is a key factor in business, which outlines the concepts of society's needs, wants and demands. It is through the...