In the Audi campaign, the Green Police are “officers” that appear in a series of mock PSAs to teach people how to make better choices to protect the environment. However, the Green Police also refers to a group that was affiliated with Nazi persecution and execution of millions of Jews during World War II.
One can imagine that the connection is the last thing Audi, a German company, would want to have made in regards to its new campaign.
However, not everyone thinks the campaign is a crisis communications emergency. “I think it’s a stretch to say it’s fatal to the campaign. I think that’s overblown,” said Hill & Knowlton US Director of Risk Management and Crisis Communication Chris Gidez.
“A lot will depend on how compelling the campaign is,” he said.
Help A Reporter Out Founder Peter Shankman disagrees. He said on Twitter, “Nothing good can ever come from a PR campaign involving Nazis.” Indeed, one would think that even the potential risk of such an association would deter the brand from choosing Green Police as the title of their campaign.
Regardless, Audi would “rather have this problem than Toyota’s problem,” said Gidez, referring to that car maker’s massive recall currently under way.