|The Volkswagen Polo is at the center of a European controversy over a hoax ad on the Internet.
In the Internet spot, a man wearing a kuffiyeh, the checkered scarf that is a symbol of Palestinian resistance, jumps into a VW Polo and drives around a city before blowing himself up inside the car. After the explosion, the terrorist is extinguished, but the car remains intact.
The short film, which is a play on a long-running Polo ad campaign, flew around the world via the Internet. Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, London, created the Polo campaign, which carries the tagline "Small but tough."
Volkswagen in a statement said: "Neither Volkswagen nor any agency acting on behalf of Volkswagen was involved in any way with the creation, production or distribution of this material. Volkswagen is reviewing legal steps against the initiators of this material."
Lee and Dan
The makers of the ad parody are a duo who known as Lee and Dan. They have previously made legitimate viral and print ads for marketers including Sony PlayStation, Ford Motor Co. and BP. They issued an apology for any offense they have caused, but did not return calls.
VW has used viral commercials in the past. In October 2003, DDB created a viral commercial for VW's diesel cars in the U.K. in which a little girl repeatedly used the word "bollocks," making the film unsuitable for TV broadcast. Volkswagen didn't pay for that spot, but it was made in response to a genuine brief and was distributed with VW's knowledge.