The automotive industry was kind enough to supply the grist for this inaugural edition of Good Week/Bad Week in Branding.
Good Week: Apple. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple plans to bring a car to market in 2019. The company has already begun assembling tiger teams and snapping up some of the best talent in automotive design, batteries, power-trains, etc., tripling the number of staff devoted to the project. Be afraid, Detroit. Be very afraid.
Bad Week: Volkswagen. The difference between omission and commission? Automotive brands actually rebound rather quickly from acts of omission that result in safety recalls (see: Toyota). But actively committing a huge fraud – with serious environmental repercussions – on the car-buying public? When your name loosely translates to “the people’s car”?!? Jetta-son the CEO, watch the stock drop 50% and fork over $7.4B in fines. #Farfegcheatin’.
Great Week: Fiat. Not sure if God favors Italian cars, but seeing Rome’s most famous resident being whisked around the streets of DC in a 35mpg Fiat 500L (amidst the gas-guzzling SUVs of his eminence’s Secret Service motorcade) caps a remarkable brand comeback for a company that was once essentially a punch line (“Fix It Again, Tony”). This Pope isn’t afraid to send a message, and everything about his choice of vehicle spoke volumes.