Volkswagen lambasted by shareholders

Volkswagen shareholders have accused executives of “overseeing a shambles” and demanded changes to the management structure at its Annual General Meeting in Hanover, Germany, the Guardian reports. The AGM is the first since the German carmaker found itself embroiled in a major emissions scandal that has affected its brands worldwide. With vehicle recalls in progress and lawsuits pending, Volkswagen’s new CEO Matthias Muller issued this statement to shareholders: “On behalf of the Volkswagen Group and everyone who works here, I apologise to you shareholders for your trust in Volkswagen being betrayed. This misconduct goes against everything that Volkswagen stands for.”

Jeep’s celebrity problem

On to another automaker with a major image problem. Fiat Chrysler is under increasing scrutiny following the death of actor Anton Yeltchin who was killed when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward down a steep driveway. The model in question had been recalled by Fiat Chrysler for a gearshift issue that sometimes results in dangerous rollaways. So it’s possibly not the greatest moment for the same Jeep model to take center stage in the blockbuster movie launch of Independence Day 2. Especially not for the makers of the movie. But, as The New York Times reports, “This week 20th Century Fox has found itself in the awkward position of publicly linking arms with the Jeep Grand Cherokee even as that sport utility vehicle brand received negative attention,” over Yeltchin’s death.

Unilever ditches sexist ads

FMCG giant Unilever will drop all sexist stereotypes from its advertising “after research suggested just 2% of ads show intelligent women,” the Guardian reports. The company will unveil a new global strategy to “unstereotype” its advertising at the Cannes Lions Festival today. “The time is right for us as an industry to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising,” Unilever chief marketing officer, Keith Weed told the Guardian. Unilever, the world’s second-biggest advertiser, currently spends £6.3bn a year on more than 400 brands.

VaynerMedia apologies for sexist party invite

Apparently no-one told Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerMedia about the impending death of sexism in advertising. Adweek reports on a Cannes party invite sent out on behalf of the agency seeking “attractive females and models only." Recipients quickly took to social media to complain about sexism and VaynerMedia was equally quick to apologise - blaming a third-party vendor for the faux pas. 

Iggy Pop reflects on marketing

Finally today, it seems the world of marketing still has a lot of work to do if it wants to promote a more purposeful image…at least according to musician Iggy Pop. In an interview with Campaign, he offers this reflection on the music industry marketeers he’s encountered. “They all have two faces, three mouths, ten sets of ethics,” he says. Ouch.


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