Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) recently defended their stance on an advert displayed on their website. The Advertising Regularity Board (ARB) stated that although VWSA did nothing wrong in legal terms, the advert was morally wrong and false.
This raises massive concerns for the entire marketing community and showcases a looming honesty issue between companies, marketing agencies, and communities. VWSA’s digital marketing spend was recorded at R6.7 million for 2019 to date.
What Was the Deal?
Volkswagen advertised their Golf GTD SD model (pictured) on the VWSA website at a starting price of R528,700 for a limited time only. The Advertising Regulatory Board found that although the product was legitimate, Volkswagen knew that stock was unavailable at all Volkswagen South Africa dealerships at the time of the advertisement.
Ordering one was possible, but the process would take up to 3 months. This timeline would surpass the ‘Limited Time Only’ disclaimer within which the special price was on offer. The offer would expire before the customer could finalise their purchase, making it impossible to buy the vehicle at the advertised price.
Volkswagen stated that it knew about this, but that it was legally protected under the ‘Limited to available stock’ disclaimer on its website. According to Business Insider, Volkswagen said that it was common to advertise cars that can’t actually be purchased in the industry.
We Would Love to Hear Your Thoughts
Should marketers and companies take more responsibility for their marketing? Should they face penalties when products or services are purposefully advertised in a way that tricks the consumer? Please share your input with us using the comment section.
Interested in more marketing news? Subscribe to our newsletter here or read more about it on our Insights page today.