Roll on, Volk­sie bus


The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Bren­dan Seery

My col­league See­lan was about to head off to Sun City this week­end and take the Jeep Rene­gade we have as a test car … un­til he dis­cov­ered how lit­tle room there is in the car. With a young fam­ily, he needs space when he trav­els – and his VW Jetta is the ideal fam­ily trans­port.

In that, See­lan is a lot like me: when I was younger and the kids were smaller, our Jetta took us all over Namibia, Zim­babwe, Swazi­land and South Africa. We were, lit­er­ally, a happy part of that “Volk­swa­gen Fam­ily”.

Back in the early ’90s, VW made a re­ally mem­o­rable TV ad called “Days of my Life”, which fea­tured a haunt­ing song as the back­track and a se­ries of vi­gnettes of a fam­ily grow­ing and chang­ing their cars as their cir­cum­stances changed – but al­ways stay­ing within the VW fam­ily.

That ad al­ways makes me a bit emo­tional (the sign of a great ad) be­cause it evokes those times in our lives when the first Jetta – and later the sec­ond – were al­ways in the back­ground. They gave us pre­cious fam­ily mo­ments.

One of the most pre­cious fam­ily mo­ments comes from the peace which re­sults from enough room in the back seat, so the off­spring don’t start World War III. And in See­lan’s Jetta there will be plenty of peace­ful space.

But what if you were even more pro­duc­tive than the twochild fam­ily norm? Say you have four – what do you do then? If you have the money (be­cause they’re not cheap) you opt for VW’s new Kombi. It’s a lot more up­mar­ket than the fa­mous surf­ing “shag­gin’ wagon” so beloved by hip­pies. It still hauls peo­ple and goods around like few other ve­hi­cles. I saw an ad for the new Kombi this week and, al­though it has been around for a few months, it still grabs the at­ten­tion. That’s be­cause the orig­i­nal “Days of my Life” soundtrack is still there and the story of what used to be known as the “Volk­sie Bus” is told through the years, just like in the orig­i­nal ad. The ad demon­strates not only the size and ver­sa­til­ity of the ve­hi­cle, but it tugs at the heart strings and re­minds you that the lat­est peo­ple car­rier has great DNA.

So an Or­chid to VW and its agency, Ogilvy.

Wasn’t it amaz­ing in this coun­try – the place of the “it’s not my fault” ex­cuse and where the na­tional bird should re­ally be the Re­spon­si­bil­ity Duck – that KPMG’s se­nior man­age­ment jointly fell on their swords yes­ter­day af­ter the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Gupta shenani­gans was com­pleted.

There are cyn­ics – and I am partly like that my­self – who will say that the ac­count­ing and busi­ness ad­vi­sory firm re­ally had no op­tion but to make heads rolls if it was to con­tinue to gen­er­ate busi­ness. Af­ter all, Bri­tish PR firm Bell Pot­tinger crashed when it failed to move quickly and de­ci­sively enough af­ter revelations of its own links to the Gup­tas emerged.

The res­ig­na­tions at KPMG, which went right to the top (even though the in­ves­ti­ga­tion claimed there was no ev­i­dence of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing) demon­strated that the buck has to stop some­where.

But promis­ing to do­nate money earned from the Gupta re­la­tion­ship (R40 mil­lion or so) to char­i­ties was a clever rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment move. Added to that, the com­pany agreed to pay back the R23 mil­lion it earned by com­pil­ing a con­tro­ver­sial re­port on the SA Rev­enues Ser­vice. The fact that the money will go to a good cause will go a long way to help re­pair KPMG’s bat­tered im­age.

Good rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment is good mar­ket­ing, so KPMG gets an Or­chid from me.

The lat­est peo­ple car­rier has great DNA

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