Yes, VW Italy Knows Its Instagram Handle Says ‘Genitalia’

Control yourselves.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Jan 6, 2023 3:08 PM
Yes, VW Italy Knows Its Instagram Handle Says ‘Genitalia’
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Everyone got a good giggle late last year when Volkswagen Italy's Instagram account, @volkswagenitalia, went viral for having the word "genitalia" in its name. As you'd expect, this didn't escape the notice of VW, which more than anything is kinda over people pointing out the suggestive word.

This comes courtesy of an anonymous source with knowledge of automakers' public relations, who wished to remain anonymous. They told The Drive this isn't actually the first time this has happened to VW Italy. Apparently, it gets English speakers digging up its Instagram account fairly often, and this is just the first time the whole "genitalia" thing has gotten attention in mass media. Italians, meanwhile, can make the same pun in their language (genitalia translates to genitali), but they just haven't been as amused as gutter-minded English speakers.

Volkswagen Italy's Instagram account. Instagram

"Nobody was really surprised within the company because it's not the first time," the source told us. "This 'genitalia' thing happens regularly almost every year, and it's all English-speaking [people]. This time got bigger and noticed by some media, but it's nothing new to those who manage social media.

"Also, in Italian, the joke would equally work: genitalia in Italian is literally translated with 'genitali,' but no Italian ever made a pun about it," they continued. "I guess it's a different approach to humor. It's like joking about Massachusetts because it's got 'ass' in its name. Is it really funny?"

If genitalia jokes are par for the course, and nobody's getting offended, it makes all the sense in the world why VW Italy wouldn't acknowledge—much less change—its Instagram handle. After all, abbreviating the handle to @vwitalia or adding an underscore would tacitly recognize the presence of the heh, sex word and generate another wave of media coverage. By letting things slide, VW benefits by getting its name in the news for innocuous reasons.

As things stand, there's no reason to change anything, because VW itself hasn't said anything crude—we're just getting all excited on our own.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com