Your RDA of Irony

Can We Change Wolfsburg to Puppytown?

Can you find the silver lining in a nuclear bomb cloud?  Do you view corruption and crime as alternate creativity?  And are you too lazy for journalism, not clever enough for advertising, and too uncoordinated for three-card Monte?  Then you should consider a career in Public Relations!

Do you have what it takes?  Just take this simple test.  Here is a quote that might be a bit awkward for a certain corporation.  All you have to do is improve the truth!

May 28, 1937:

Volkswagen is founded

On this day in 1937, the government of Germany–then under the control of Adolf Hitler of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party–forms a new state-owned automobile company, then known as Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH. Later that year, it was renamed simply Volkswagenwerk, or “The People’s Car Company.”

Originally operated by the German Labor Front, a Nazi organization, Volkswagen was headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. In addition to his ambitious campaign to build a network of autobahns and limited access highways across Germany, Hitler’s pet project was the development and mass production of an affordable yet still speedy vehicle that could sell for less than 1,000 Reich marks (about $140 at the time). To provide the design for this “people’s car,” Hitler called in the Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche. In 1938, at a Nazi rally, the Fuhrer declared: “It is for the broad masses that this car has been built. Its purpose is to answer their transportation needs, and it is intended to give them joy.”

Goodness, what unpleasant details!  How can Public Relations enhance the story?  Here is an example….

Happy Birthday, You Adorable Beetle!

On this day in 1937, Germany thought of a car as cute as their Steiff stuffed animals. Introduced by a well-known vegetarian with a sweet-tooth (hint, he might be Charlie Chaplin!), the cuddly, affordable little vehicle was called the People’s Car.  And what could be friendlier than that!

So, Happy Birthday, you folksy Volksy!

  1. rio imamura says:

    Eugene, thank you for your article. My first car was a VW. I bought it from a German immigrant arriving in
    New York as her accompanied vehicle. It’s a brand new car. Maybe she ran it to her port of embarkation
    where it was in Europe. I liked the car which worked well in the cold weather. My wife liked it too. I sold it a few year later at a higher price than I bought.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thanks Rio.

      Of course, I am relieved that the Germans did not figure out cold-resistant motors until after 1945.

      Actually, the aforementioned vegetarian with a sweet-tooth was more of a Mercedes man. Ironically, the Mercedes was named for fraulein Jellinek of Austria-Hungary, the daughter of a major investor at Daimler-Benz. Aside from having a rich father, she could also boast of another family distinction: her great-uncle was Chief Rabbi of Vienna. (Well, maybe she shouldn’t have boasted about that in front of that vegetarian with a sweet-tooth.)


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