In September 2015, the EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act, indicating that VW has been deceiving consumers for several years, by falsely promoting – through a high-profile marketing campaign – that its diesel cars were low-emission and environmentally friendly. Such misleading practices usually result into large financial fines, a long-term negative publicity and consequently, a wounded brand image.
According to a relevant study of the European Commission (2018), for a practice to qualify as misleading, it must additionally be “likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision (s)he would not have taken otherwise” 2.
As a result, immoral, unfair, provocative, and harmful marketing tactics may refer to a promotional attempt which:
2 European Commission (2018), Behavioural study on advertising and marketing practices in social media. Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers. 46