Case studies

Dieselgate

Crisis communication

Background to Dieselgate

At the end of September 2015, Volkswagen's automobile scandal broke out. The US Environmental Protection Agency published information that diesel engines fitted into VW Group vehicles, including Škoda, contained devices which artificially reduced emissions. For KLB Legal, a law firm specializing in collective claims and damages, PRAM designed and implemented a communications campaign to involve as many affected customers as possible in bringing collective action. The cause has come to be known as "Dieselgate".

2 500

Unique Visitors to the landing page for the first month of campaign

2,25
millions of people

Total audiovisual media coverage

80
thousand

Social reach on Facebook during the first two weeks of the campaign

300

Number of victims gathered for collective action

Description of the problem - Overcoming apathy

There were about 150,000 cars in the Czech Republic affected by VW’s emission reduction actions. However their owners had been reluctant to make individual claims against the carmaker, even though they had lost money as a result of a fall in the value of of their cars.. The main cause of this apathy was the obstinate approach of the Czechs, for whom Škoda is a "national treasure". KLB Legal, with the support of PRAM Consulting, came up with a solution to create a petition and encourage the affected car owners to initiate joint legal representation.

Solution

For the purpose of the campaign, the website dieselovakauza.cz was created with all the information about the case. It included a registration form for car owners to join the lawsuit. In addition to classic media relations, we actively communicated in online discussions during the campaign, used sponsored posts on Facebook, and advertised in automotive magazines. The entire campaign was designed and launched within a week to enable KLB Legal to capitalise on a period of high media exposure about the emissions scandal.

Results

The website dieselovakauza.cz was visited by more than 2,500 people a month.. Two adverts were seen by more than 50,000 readers, and the overall viewing / listening frequency of six internet, TV and radio sessions dealing with the case was 2.25 million. On Facebook, during the main campaign period of 2 weeks, 10 posts with over 80,000 unique views were published and around 2,000 users interacted by opening a link, posting a comment or sharing content. Dieselgate articles were also published in major daily newspapers such as HN, MF Dnes, Právo, Blesk, idnes.cz, News.cz, aktualne.cz. Because the campaign had such a significant impact, KLB Legal gathered nearly 300 affected Czech car owners for collective action. The campaign also underlined KLB’s capability and specialization. The campaign was subsequently awarded the Czech PR Prize for Crisis Communication.

Results in statistics

  • Unique Visitors to the landing page for the first month of campaign: 2,500
  • Total audiovisual media coverage: 2 250 000 (persons)
  • Social reach on Facebook during the first two weeks of the campaign: 80,000
  • Number of victims gathered for collective action: 300
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Czech PR Awards

Czech PR Awards

Worldcom PR Global Award

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