Adwatch (May 2) Top 20 recall: Audi

Audi ad tracks brand's cars from 20s 'ugly duckling' to 2012's 'swan', the A5
Audi ad tracks brand's cars from 20s 'ugly duckling' to 2012's 'swan', the A5

The brand highlights its strong heritage as an auto innovator while promoting its latest cars.

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From the opening frame of this ad, you're immediately thrown into a fairy-tale world. Hans Christian Andersen's Ugly Duckling story set to music, Danny Kaye tunefully raising my spirits as I watch a very strange car (at least, I assume it's a car - it looks pretty weird) meander through town.

Unfortunately the car isn't allowed to mind its own business. It's laughed at, heckled, and its appearance draws disapproving shakes of the head. Why can't they leave the poor thing alone?

And right there is the realisation that this is a car ad that's grabbed me. Not through style, being daringly different or even having a visual impact, but through powerful story-telling. I'm not watching a TV ad for a car; I'm watching a fairy tale. I half expect to see James Stewart walk in from the set of It's a Wonderful Life, jump in the car and make everything all right.

Hang on a minute - this is a car ad, right? Aren't we supposed to be shown the usual functional aspects of the latest model, following a well-used formula? Let's see how the car handles round a corner, then watch it speed along a mountain road with a view of the Mediterranean. That rather homogenised approach to car advertising only really shows me that it's a car and can be driven on a road - nothing interesting or new in that.

That's not what we get here, however. The black-and-white world into which we're thrown is immediately engaging and we connect with the car straight away, feeling protective of this 'ugly duckling'. In less than 30 seconds I've been made to humanise the car and feel sorry for it. Impressive stuff, and very different from what I expect to see from Audi.

Of course, everything does turn out all right. Paul Jaray's 20s experimental aerodynamic design transforms into a modern-day Audi A5.

I can't remember the last time I was so drawn in by a car ad. I could question why the A5 was chosen over the other models - the A3 or the A4 could have done just as well - but it's clear that this is doing a job for the brand, not just the A5.

Audi certainly has come a long way, but the heartbeat of what drives the brand remains the same: the focus on advancement through technology, even if it was misunderstood back in the day. In one small transformation, the past 90-odd years of progression are clearly demonstrated, portraying the evolution of design as well as engineering.

It is no easy task maintaining a long-term brand strategy with new news, especially one as well-established as 'Vorsprung durch Technik'. Yet this execution manages to do this exceptionally well, and the more I watch this, the more I like it. The only problem is that I now have the song stuck in my head.

Brand strategy verdict: 9 out of 10

Audi advertising returns to form. This ad manages to deliver brand heritage with true story-telling - 'Vorsprung durch Technik' with style.

Adwatch: Top 20 recall
Latest Apr-25 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 -1 Comparethemarket.


2 (–) BT 

Abbott Mead Vickers

3 (–) Virgin Media 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

4 (–) Confused.

Wordley Production,
Hornet Inc/PHD

5 (–) Aviva 

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/

6= (–) Wall's

Lola Lowe Madrid/

6= (–) Dulux 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

8 (–) Argos 

CHI & Partners/

9 (–) Audi A5 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

10 (–) Wickes  MWO/MEC 36
11= -2 Sky 

Digital & Direct/

11= (–) Harveys  HMDG/MediaVest 35
13= (–) Visa  Saatchi & Saatchi,
Publicis Chemistry/MEC
13= (–) Orange  Fallon/MEC 34
15= (7=) Tesco F&F  The Red Brick Road/
15= (18=) Homebase  Leo Burnett/
17= (–) Maggi
Publicis/Mindshare 28
17= (–) Oral-B  Publicis/Starcom 28
19 (–) Karcher
HMDG/Maxus 27
20 -17 The
PHD Rocket


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