Wired's recent "native ad" for Volkswagen vanishes as emissions scandal worsens

Volkswagen's sponsored content may be disappearing around the internet, but the stink about their emissions scandal ain't going anywhere just yet.

Just last week on social media, Wired was promoting content sponsored by now-disgraced car maker Volkswagen, all about "how diesel was re-engineered." From what we can tell, Volkswagen's native content campaign with Wired launched mid-2015. But as the scandal about software installed on Volkswagen diesel vehicles to trick emissions tests grows more serious, links to the sponsored content campaign have gone dark.

In case you haven't been following the German auto maker's recent woes, Wired summarizes them neatly here, in a non-sponsored article about, let's not mince words here, how totally fucked VW is:

Volkswagen has admitted to illegally using software to manipulate exhaust emissions during government testing. When driving on the road, the emissions of mono-nitrogen oxides, or NOx, were up to forty times the legal limit. VW hasn't explained how the software worked, but you can be sure that the (literally) dirty details will come out in court.

Anyway, about that now-sort-of-embarassing sponsored content campaign that's 404ing now:

A reference to the program was still visible until earlier today on the "Clean Diesel" section of VW's web site. Under a sub-section called "Diesel Gets WIRED" the site had said "Volkswagen and Wired Brand Lab have created an experience that will inform, educate, surprise, and change the way you think about diesel," while teasing content that describes "how a once unloved engine has cleaned up its act."

But the link urging viewers to "visit the Wired experience" was yielding only an error message as of Tuesday. Wired had been promoting the content on one of its official Twitter handles on Sept. 15, urging followers to "learn how #diesel was re-engineered" as "@WIREDInsider and @ VW uncover how it became cleaner and more future-forward." The link embedded in the tweet produced only an error message on Tuesday.

The VW site makes clear that the program was "produced by the advertising department of Wired and sponsored by Volkswagen." A Wired spokesman declined to comment. A VW spokeswoman did not respond to en email requesting comment.


Earlier today, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation. "I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines," he said in a statement. "Volkswagen needs a fresh start—also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation."

More: Wired's native ad for VW diesel tech goes missing [autonews.com]

Wired is covering the ongoing scandal, and their latest article about it is here.