• Mar 19th 2006 at 1:00PM
  • 31

It seems like we just got through telling you about Volkswagen’s controversial new ad Speedy Gonzales campaign geared towards Hispanic consumers, when this little gem came across the wire: the automaker is pulling billboards from three cities because of complaints about the advertisements being offensive to the same ethnicity.

Billboards for the 2006 GTI with the text “Turbo-Cojones” in Miami’s Little Havana had received objections, and VW went ahead and pulled identical signs in New York and Los Angeles. While ‘cojones’ (meaning ‘testicles’ in Spanish) has taken on a more lighthearted meaning among most English speakers (rather like “chutzpah” or “guts”), among some Spanish speakers, the connotation remains altogether more graphic.

The advertising campaign accompanying the revitalized GTI has been remarkably edgy and aggressive (tv commercials for the hot hatch seem to be on every five minutes), including the Fast and Unpimp My Auto spots.

The replacements for the CreativeOnDemand billboards? “Here today, gone tamale” and “Kick a little gracias.”



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hispanics have very feeble senses of humor. Have you ever watched the comedy shows on Univision? Painfully bad with so much pathos it transcends language barriers, yet in the Hispanic markets all over the country, millions are glued to their TV sets laughing uproariously to which ratings can attest.



      • 9 Years Ago
      People need to friggin relax and get off their "ethnic" horse all the time.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Gotta love VW...they seem to be digging their own hole deeper and deeper everyday. Idiots...

      • 9 Years Ago
      Pretty smart actually- anyone who's looking to buy a hot-hatch is probably going to think the Turbo-Cojones is funny. Controversial = free press.

      Everyone else will either buy an hybrid or something vanilla. And then the masses will forget the whole shebang.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Thank you Mike for trying to correct people who think they know it all. I guess Mal tries to set himself APART from everyone by using $5 words and proof reading each log. Mal should but a G in front of his name and drop the M thus creating acronym for (G)et (A) (L)ife
      • 9 Years Ago
      Is it possible cajones has a more negative connotation in Cuban Spanish than in Mexican Spanish? I have Spanish speaking friends here on the Left Coast who use the often. It never occurred to me that it might be considered an expletive.

      To those who have equated the use of the term "cajones" as equivalent to seeing the word "cunt" on a billboard, I think that might be a little too powerful. I think an earlier poster was right on when he said you don't see the word "ass" on billboards. I can draw another parallel, I don't even think I have ever seen the word "balls" used on a billboard.

      Ironically, the word "cajones" is often used on American airwaves as a euphemism for the word "balls" because latter term is deemed offensive and will get bleeped.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The uproar over this will draw attention to VW and to that extent it's probably OK because VW has been reduced to a forgettable brand in the U.S.

      Using "COJONES" on VW billboards doesn't take as much cojones as buying one of those overpriced hunks of trouble--that takes real balls!
      • 9 Years Ago
      On the contrary, the Turbo-Cojones ad points to the absence of a latino marketing specialist among the probably the many german experts. The use of the cojones word is very offensive to the Latino community, its not joke. There are some fine universities in Latin America where Germans can hire fine marketing executives.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It's probably the illegal's that are upset with the ad
      • 9 Years Ago
      Gosh Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Blog, did you think that my comment was humorless? And, your unfortunate use of the word "apart" instead of the two words a part obfuscates your intended meaning.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Racism? What about BET (black entertainment television)? I feel that this TV station is racist, and they slam white people all the time. Racism goes every which way. I think people need to stop whining. Our society is SO imature.

      • 9 Years Ago
      I hear that VW's next ad campaign will be targeting blacks. The action packed ads will feature Uncle Remus singing Zippity Do Da.
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